It’s kind of a no brainer, right? Authors – we hear it all the time. Write the book you want to read, write what you’re passionate about, and just be you. Sounds easy, right?
It’s not. You may have a masterpiece on your hands, a brilliant piece of art the world wants to see, but then … no one sees it. What are you going to do about it?
I did an interview on the Podcast today with Robert J. Sawyer. Amazing guy, very knowledgeable, and really down-to-earth. It was an amazing experience talking to him and nerding-out about Star Trek, science fiction, and TV shows. In the space of sixty minutes, I realized that this man was a little bit my hero: Hugo Award winner with twenty-three books on the market with the Big 5; one of his books are made into the TV show Flash Forward for goodness sake! He is everything every indie (or traditionally published, for that matter) strives to be. He’s everything I want to be. It was hard not to be star struck, but he was so … human … in this moment that I realized that every single one of us is a Robert J. Sawyer: he wrote what he wanted and worked hard to make it succeed.
And he said something that almost brought me to tears: “Don’t write to market, write what you love. Write what you want to read.”
Such a fundamental quote that we should all take to heart. This man wrote a time-travel book about dinosaurs, End of an Era, for gosh sake, and lived out the dreams of all of our 4-year-old selves. Did you miss that bit earlier? He wrote what he wanted.
Can I be real for just a minute? Being an author is hard. We all know this – whether you’re new to the game or been doing it a while. We all want to succeed. I’ve struggled with being “good enough” with my own works. If you’re a fan of this blog, you know I don’t write traditional romance, or fantasy for that matter. And whether you write horror, thriller, mystery, science fiction, or a blend of all of the above, remember this simple truth: you’re creating something that you can be proud of.
At the end of the day, ask yourself this: do you write for money & fame, or to change lives? Will you support others and see them as contemporaries and not competition? Will you write a book that you can stand behind or just something that will be read and discarded?
Make a decision – but stay true to yourself. I don’t think it matters if you sell one book or get a movie deal. What does matter is that you did it. Words on a page, hitting the publish button, and sharing your world with fans is a million miles from those who didn’t.
As much as I loved talking with Robert, my fundamental takeaway is this: don’t just write what you want or the book you want to read, write what’s within you. At the end of the day, that’s about all we can do.