So often we hear the phrase “write what you know.” I would take that a step further, to “write what you love.”
Many times, a client will ask me to help her choose between multiple ideas. She’ll present me with the one she thinks she ought to write, the one that is more “commercially viable,” that is on a topic that is hot right now or follows a certain formula that has had success in the past.
And then she’ll talk about that other idea, the one that is a little bit riskier, that asks more of her and that asks more of her potential reader. It is this second idea that makes her talk a little faster, makes her heart speed up, makes her eager to sit at her computer and write.
I always, always tell her to go with the second idea.
You have to write what you love. Otherwise, you won’t write it. That book that you’ve been meaning to write but haven’t gotten around to because the thought just fills you with ugh? You never will write it. Or even if you force yourself and do finally manage to complete it, it just won’t be very good. It won’t come from a place of joy and authenticity, there will be no energy behind it–there will be no you behind it.
So if you’ve got this idea that you know is great, that you know is what “everyone” is looking for these days, but it’s not what you are looking for–let it go. Write the book that you want to write, the book that you love–because that is the only way a book can be great.