Monday, June 21, 2010

Write What You Want To Write

This week, the inspiration for my posts comes from the latest edition of Writer's Digest - July/August 2010.

After 20 years of publishing, Charlaine Harris wrote the book she'd always wanted to write - and hit a vein with readers everywhere. (Writer's Digest - July/August 2010 - Page 51).

In case you don't know Charlaine Harris, she writes the Sookie Stackhouse novels which were the inspiration for the HBO series True Blood. Yes, she was out there with vampires, werewolves, etc., long before Stephanie Meyers even thought about writing about the same creatures.

The article is four pages long, but the italicized blurb up top is, to me, the most important part of the entire article. She wrote the book she always wanted to write.

I've written about this subject quite a few times. I've said before: the best writing I've ever done is when I wrote solely what I wanted to write, me as the audience, without a thought for a bigger audience, an agent, a publisher, anyone! I didn't think about trends or anything. I just wrote the story I wanted to tell, a story close to my heart, and something I wanted to find on the bookshelves at Borders!

All of that aside, I wrote what I wanted to write!

As writers, I think we tend to forget to write for ourselves, to write what we are passionate about. We attempt to follow trends. We stray away from our passions and desires, our love of the story we want to tell, and settle for something . . . less.

Perhaps we chase the dream too fast and far and lose ourselves in the process.

Perhaps as a Race this is an inherent trait, something humans are hard-wired to do, and there is no way around the chasing of the dream.

Perhaps . . . well, there a a number of perhaps scenarios I could come up with.

I think the thing we have to remember, and be reminded about time and again: write what you love!

On an end note, since I mentioned chasing the dream, I want to leave you with some words spoken by the character Roseanne Conner from Roseanne in the final episode:

Dreams don't work without action. Nobody can stop me but me!



Stina Lindenblatt said...

Considering the likelihood of not being published, I write what I want to read. Especially since other than my crit partners and beta readers, I might be the only one reading my book.

Tess said...

ah, these are important words here, Scott. Because, no matter what happens with our work, we need to feel good about it. If something is going to take (and by 'take' I mean suck up and completely consume) months and years of our lives, we might as well have it represent our hearts a little, right?

Davin Malasarn said...

I try so hard to remind myself of this every time I write. Sometimes it works. Thankfully, it works more and more these days. I agree that the best writing comes out when you work this way.

Scott said...

Stina – for the most part, I write what I want to read, because what I want to read isn’t out there right now. Go figure. Personally, I don’t want to write about vampires, so I don’t. Ha!

Tess – you’re absolutely right: we need to feel good about it. It is so easy to fall into writing the current trend and hoping your take will be different enough to grab an agent’s attention. I guess I’m at the point in my life where, well, it’s all about me . . . at least to a certain extent. And yes, we need to represent our hearts, not only in our writing, but everything we do.

Davin – I think we get to a point in our lives where, and not in a selfish way, it becomes more about us, our wants and needs, than anything else. We reach a point of comfort in our lives where we really don’t (not in a bad or dismissive way) care what people think about us. We go boldly forward and follow our heart where it will lead us, doing what makes us happy on an individual level. That’s where I’m at with my writing. I’m writing what I want to write, what I want to read, and that’s enough for me right now.

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

This is a great, inspiring post, Scott! It's so important to write what we want. I think I've done that so far in my career, which explains why I'm not published yet...I also don't want to rush into anything, so taking my sweet time has been a nice journey so far. :)