Occasionally you’ll hear a piece of advice, and you’ll think, Oh. And then, Well, no duh.
It’s going to happen. You’ll know a lot about the craft and about yourself as a writer, but sometimes you need a reminder.
I was asking myself what kind of books I wanted to work on really. I mean, there are tons of ideas, but as I checked them out, I thought: You know, some of these storylines can be downright depressing. Not that there’s anything wrong with that! All types of stories need to be told, and different people have different reaction to them. But then I look at the ideas I’ve had and then think about how many books I’ve successfully written, and then it hits me.
Good ideas? Yes. The kind of books I want to write?
Well, if I wanted to write them, wouldn’t I have done it already?
I think I spend so much time trying to come up with the influential and the essential that I forget that sometimes what I need is just something downright fun and silly. A random short story, for instance. Or hey, if I’m up to it, maybe a novel full of nonsense.
Am I capable of such work? No idea! But after whipping up the most ridiculous short stories, I found myself grinning because it was fun. It didn’t even feel like work!
And that’s okay! Work can come with editing and rewrites.
All I know is a book’s not going to be written if I’m constantly battling inside myself, trying to find the motivation and the desire to get the story out. It’s not going to be influential or essential to the world if it never gets out of my head!
They say write what you know.
I say write what you love. Because with a healthy amount of passion will come research and knowledge. And you’ll become a pro at the thing you enjoy so much.
Will I scrap the ideas I’ve had? Good grief, no! Because they are still part of my mind, and just because I might not feel up to tackling their heavy material now, I might feel that it’s the right time to work on them at a different date.
Putting certain stories in storage is more than okay. I’ll never know when I need them.
BUT FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT’S GOOD AND HOLY, write what you want to write. Because while doubt and fear might be present, while discouragement is normal, you should still find joy in your journey from beginning to end. You should still love what you do. If it’s more of a task you give yourself, if it’s more guilt and headache than anything else, then you might need to stop and ask yourself why.
I can tell you right now, though. The answer is NOT that you’re a horrible writer, or that you shouldn’t be a writer at all. So if that’s the answer that first comes to mind, keep asking the question until you find the right one.