This is Why You Have to Write the Book You Actually Want

Not the one you think you‘re supposed to write.

While I’m in the early stages of writing my book, I’ve already learned one lesson I’m glad I discovered right away before it manipulated my entire process.

I learned to remember that as I write, I write for myself.

Just like many writers, I think it’d be pretty awesome if my book were turned into a film, but I thought about the novel I was writing and realized that would never happen.

The thought scared me. “If this isn’t good enough, your dream won’t come true. If you’re writing in the dystopian genre, it needs to be as good as The Hunger Games, which you can’t do, so you better create a different story altogether.”

I put a stop to my thoughts after that because I don’t want to write anything else. I like the story I’m putting together, and I want to finish it no matter what. I remembered something pivotal then: my dream isn’t to see a book of mine become a movie. My dream is to write a book.

Seeing your characters come to life on the big screen must be an unbelievable experience, and it would be great to have it. However, if I wanted to see my work in the movies or on tv desperately, I would’ve become a screenwriter.

I would like for one of my books to become a film, but it’s not something I’m desperately passionate about the way I am about writing and completing a novel.

If a book of mine never turns into a movie, I can genuinely say I wouldn’t give a shit. On the other hand, if I never wrote a book in my lifetime, that’d be something I’d regret deeply — something I’d never forgive myself for.

Any goal outside of writing your book is arbitrary

You probably fantasize about the same things as I — films, a series, awards, great reviews — and that’s fine. You can envision anything you want.

You can envision anything you want as long as you don’t let those daydreams affect how you write.

I’m writing my book because it’s my dream work. I’m not doing it for the money or because I think everyone will love it, but because I ache to write it.

While you write your book — or even an article, essay, or anything else — you have to focus on what you have to say, why you want to say it, and then tell your story.

Any goal outside of writing your book is arbitrary, so you can’t put any measure or weight on them.

Don’t worry about outside opinions

If you worry about how people will react to your book, where it will take you when it’s over, or how rich it’ll get you, you won’t enjoy the process. Slowly but surely, you’ll transition into someone who writes because they want to get something out of the finished product.

If you want to write for the accolades, you do you. Not everyone starts a business because they’re passionate about it, right?

On the other hand, if that’s not the person you wish to be, and if you want to write because you love it, then you have to keep those fantasies out of mind while you write. If you don’t, you’ll change your story and made edits you’re unhappy with.

You have to produce a story you want to tell even if there’s a possibility it might be unpopular and won’t make it to the big screen.

Besides, although this isn’t the point, your book might end up taking you places you never expected. Don’t assume anything.

Write for yourself

As you write your book, remember to write it for yourself. For however long you take to complete it, write it because it’s the story you want to share, the one you’ve wanted to read but has been missing from the shelves.

The main character of my book is a lesbian, as is her love interest, and everyone’s Latinx. Let’s be real, if I wanted my book to have a better chance at turning into a movie, I’d have to make the characters straight and white.

If you stop yourself from writing something, like a character we don’t usually see in entertainment, then you’re not doing yourself or your writing justice.

Final words

Don’t worry about anything — and I mean anything — as you write a book. Not a character, a scene, or a piece of dialogue.

If you worry, it changes your story, and you might not be happy about the result. You’ll know something is missing, or you might feel as though you could’ve done better. You’ll know you cheated yourself.

Forget all of that crap about opinions and awards and a Netflix series. Write your book because you want to write one more than anything and tell the story you want to share.

23. My goal is simple: to make you feel less alone. Get your free “Before-You-Publish” Checklist here →

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