This post is part of the Countdown Series on ShariLopatin.com, re-publishing my top “writing tips” blog posts from the past five years. The Countdown Series will culminate in a few weeks with the announcement of my business’ (Shari’s Ink) new arm, which will benefit other WRITERS!
Originally published Oct. 13, 2011
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?