Write the Book That’s in Your Heart
Almost everyone who has known me while I’ve been writing novels has heard me say these words. I’ve said them in lectures and in conversations at cocktail parties. I’ve said them to hopeful editing clients and to mildly interested would-be writers on the tennis court.
“Write the book that’s in your heart” is the best and most flawless advice because it means you just can’t go wrong.
See, here’s the thing: when you’re just starting out you have no reasonable reason to think that your writing efforts will be rewarded beyond you immediate circle. You might hope for an agent, publication and wide acclaim, but you really don’t know that it will ever come. What you do know: the intentions you baked into that book when you were writing it. To be clear: at the stage of conception and beginning execution of the idea, you need to be focused on the siren song of creativity. That’s what will guide you. Writing a book is a long haul. Trying to write the best version of someone else’s book — or the book that was big last month or next year — is not sustainable. I mean, it can be (and has been) done. But that doesn’t mean it will be good or even worthwhile.
If you set out to write a book that makes your heart sing, the work itself will sustain you when things get difficult. Also, if the unthinkable happens and you are unable to find anyone else to care about the labor of love you have brought in the world, you will have the comfort of knowing you wrote the very best book you could.
Write from your heart and make it the very best book you can. That is not the way to success, that defines it.
Bringing this all up now because, when I was asked to contribute a writing tip for a Sisters in Crime “Sinc-up” it was the very first thing that came to mind. That video tip is included below. ◊