Write What You Love & Forget Everything Else


I just finished THE HELP last week. And then I read author Kathryn Stockett’s personal three-page narrative at the end.

And I realized something.

Kathryn didn’t write THE HELP to be a bestseller or a future American classic (which I’m sure it will become). She didn’t write it because she thought it’s what others wanted to read, or what she thought would make a possible award-winning book.

Kathryn wrote it, because the storyline was her life growing up. Her questions. Kathryn wrote THE HELP because she followed her passion. And the result is astounding.

Forget what everyone else says. What do YOU want to write?

Don’t write a story because you think other writers will find it to be literary genius. Don’t write an article because you think it’s what everyone else wants to read.

What are you passionate about?

Because when you write with your heart, with your passion, it shows. I could tell, reading THE HELP, that Kathryn poured her soul into this book, into the characters. I bet she cried writing it. I bet she smirked devilishly plotting it.

And you know what? She inspired me.

Here are just a few other books I’ve read or movies I’ve watched, where I could tell the author/screenwriter wrote with his or her heart:

  • The Kite Runner (book)
  • Great Expectations (book)
  • Almost Famous (movie)
  • Of Mice and Men (book)

If you don’t write what you love, others will know. They won’t feel your story, they won’t empathize with your characters. To them, it will never be real, it will never last.

MY QUESTION TO YOU: What are you passionate about writing? Have you ever caught yourself writing for others, instead of for yourself?

12 thoughts on “Write What You Love & Forget Everything Else

  1. Hi Shari! I have been away from my writing and busy making too many Italian panini sandwiches….Hopefully, after folk see The Help in Switzerland, it won’t deminish our regular clientele:-)
    Honestly, the book had me mesmerized..The movie, in spite of outstanding character performances, left less of an impression than the book.
    Southern born, and European evolved, man, oh, man do I still have this residue of words left to leave folk asking, “Did that really happen to her?”
    Yep, tons of journals, emotions, even a poem written to my 22 years ago unborn mulatto child. I am still checking venues.
    According to a friend at Library of Congress, I should simply get my stuff copywritten(though costly), then look for a publisher…
    Anyway, much much success with your endeavors, and I will be frequenting your blog again often. Have a nice week!

    1. Hi there! So nice to see you back. 🙂 Sorry for the delayed response. Italian panini sandwiches sound yummy right about now. I could use one. LOL! As for THE HELP, I never saw the movie, so I can’t speak to it, but the book had me mesmerized as well. Kept me up all night!

      Thanks for saying hello again, and I hope to see you back here again soon! 🙂

  2. I appreciate your insight here, Shari, and I think you’re on to something profound. We need to erase that voice that motivates us to impress and just write what motivates us. For most, it’s love–the unfurling of what has brought us to where we are now. Thank you for your candor.

  3. Shari, this is so true. When I started my blg, I knew no one was reading it, so I wrote and wrote whatever i felt at that time. When I started to get an audience, I became more cautious about my writing and a lot of times I second-guess myself on my topics and my feelings….

    1. I am right there with you, Ariana! Even now, I sometimes find myself second-guessing, “Is this what my followers want to read?” And for blogs, I do think it’s important to keep your audience in mind. However, the reason they started following you in the first place, is because they liked what you had to say. I think with blogs, the key is variety. Sometimes write for them (i.e. tips, tricks, advice), but also sometimes write for you. I think it keeps your followers on their toes. 🙂

  4. I write about the Special Needs Children I worked with for 30 years…yes,it will bring out the passion, humor, tears…but, it will be real…combined with some everyday experiences of my own…never gets boring…never have to think very long about a topic…so, I totally agree with your findings…thanks!

    1. In my opinion, there is no better writing than that which is real and raw. I’ve seen your blog Marilyn, and I love the way you present your stories! Thanks for commenting, and sorry I’m a tad delayed on my response.

      –Shari

  5. So very true, Shari! I had been thinking earlier this morning on this very subject — that I write what is on my heart without caring too much whether it wins any popularity contests. When we write what is burning in us, it rings true with others. What an opportunity we have to make our world a better place by just “going with the flow” of what’s inside of us in our writing.

    1. I like how you phrase that, Lee: “When we write what is BURNING in us …” What passionate words! I once read an article in Poets and Writers Magazine about how to win writing contests. And one of the sources said something along the lines of, “Write as if your words will change the world.” Thanks for your comments, and apologies on the delayed response.

      –Shari

  6. I’m struggling with, in my memoir, letting it all hang out. Or giving the reader a line to my soul. It comes around, and blogging is what helps me with that problem. Thanks for this, that book is on my nightstand…in a pile so high that I keep rearranging so it won’t tip 🙂

    1. I once read this GREAT piece of advice for memoir writing. It’s for your obstacle: letting it all hang out. Here was the advice. For the really difficult parts, leave out your emotions and just write the facts. For example: “When I came home from school that day, my father wasn’t sitting in his usual chair watching television. Instead, a note lay where the remote usually rested. It read two simple words, ‘I’m sorry.’ I never heard from my father again, since that afternoon when I was 12 years old.”

      It allows the reader to feel the emotions for you. I thought that was some pretty brilliant advice. Hope this helps, and GOOD LUCK with that memoir! 🙂 Stay in touch and keep us posted how it”s going (oh yes, and let me know after you read THE HELP)!

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