“Now here we are, this attractive idea and me, going somewhere together, and it doesn’t matter at all that I don’t know the destination, because I’m already someplace I want to be.” (Kenower 49)
The most successful writers are those who love the stories they write. They don’t write to someone else’s standards or for any expectations. They don’t measure their success by followers, royalties, or sales. No, they are content with the production of something they love.
When we use other people to create the standard for our writing we forfeit our happiness. Choosing to focus on craft over passion turns a hobby into a job and quickly puts out the fire that brings us back to the page.
Each story we commit to is like a marriage. There are days full of elation and all the things of fairy tales, but more often there are challenges and struggles. None of us would face life with just anyone and stick it out unless we truly loved our partner. It’s the same way with a story. If we are choosing to write something for anyone else and not because we love it then we will quickly find ourselves signing divorce papers with the story and going our separate ways.
So if you love to read stories about Kung-Fu pirates write about them.
If you love to create southern recipes write them.
If you love graphic novels about garbage men, then go for it.
Write about what your mind keeps returning to. Each time you sit down to write make it something that you are excited about. Let curiosity guide your tales. Don’t get caught up in the promise of money or fame. Get caught up in writing your passion.
(Side note- I follow a very famous children’s author on Facebook who is asking for donations this Christmas to pay her bills. So if you are waiting on a story to pay your bills–they won’t. This particular author has many, many best sellers.)
Practice: If I could tell only one story what would it be?
I love to read stories that restore my faith in humanity. I read a lot of YA fiction as an English teacher…there’s so much to love and learn from teen protagonists.
Most recently I’ve loved The Hate U Give, All American Boys, When We Collided, and Words in Deep Blue.
When I am reading a book that reminds me that this world is a good place full of amazing people I am drawn in. I hate to leave those characters on the final page. They become friends because they’ve spoken to my soul.
So if I could only tell one story it would be similar to this.
It would be one where the teen protagonist overcomes hate or prejudice. Where love wins and society is changed. It would be a tale that brings readers together with a common experience of love and where the last page isn’t the end of a story, but the beginning of a journey for the person who just finished it.
One day you may get to see some of my manuscripts turned into a novel.
But if not, if nothing ever comes of them I will have the pleasure of meeting my characters myself. Writing cannot be about agents, publishers, or readers. I will never be happy if that is the case. I cannot control those things. All I have control over is my own heart and diligence. And if I do not love my own stories then the world never will either.
The Ameri Brit Mom