“Is this any good?” is one of the most common questions writers will ask themselves (and others) when they’re working on a project.
Other common thoughts are:
“Is it believable?”
“Is it entertaining?”
“Do I have any plot holes?”
“Are the characters likable/unlikable? Are they relatable? Should I flesh them out more?”
“Will it sell?”
“Will it sell?” has no business being on this list. At least, not when you’re in the process of writing the story.
A writer’s job is not to sell a story. That’s the job of your agent or editor.
And yes, self-published writers are a different matter, but in general, if you’re published, self-published or just writing in your journal or blog, your reason for writing should never be to make money. Ever.
A writer’s job is to spin their storytelling needle and capture the imagination and heart of their reader. Your job is to create a story that evokes emotions and feelings, that transports your audience into a life that is not their own.
You are supposed to create a mirror that depicts another timeline, another life.
But, your reasoning behind the story should never be to make some cash.
We’re not saying to write for free. You should be paid for all the time and effort you put into your work, but, the core of writing is not profit, but expression.
The dream of every writer is to write something that will sell and yes, whether you’re self-published or published, you have to participate in your book’s marketing, but when you’re writing the story, your only thought should be to create the story you feel that you need to write, not if it can be marketed as the next “Twilight,” “Sherlock Holmes” or “The Hunger Games.”
Yes, the publishing world is highly competitive but editors– and most importantly the readers– can tell when a story is written with passion and enthusiasm or if it’s written just for the profit.
Those types of stories tend to lack magic.
Allen Ginsberg, a poet, once said, “To gain your own voice, you have to forget about having it heard.”
So, writers, don’t sit down to write a story you think would be easy to sell. Instead, sit down and write the story that is trapped inside you, just waiting to be heard.
Because that’s the story the world needs to hear.
So, are you writing for the right reasons? Let us know in the comments below what your reason for writing is and if you like what you read and want to see more, subscribe to our email list for more thoughts, quotes and writing prompts or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest.