A Book You Want To Read versus A Book You Want To Write

I often hear people say, “Write the book you want to read. If no one has written it yet, it’s up to you!”

There is one true thing about this advice: you should NEVER write a book you do not want to read.

But there is a BIG difference between a book you want to
READ and a book you want to WRITE.

I face this conundrum every time I start a new story (whether it’s a novel, screenplay, stage play, TV pilot, short story…) Is this something I want to READ/SEE… or is this actually something I want to WRITE?

It’s the difference between:

I want to READ this book…

And I want to BE this book

Am I interested in the subject matter…

Or obsessed

Do I want to spend a few hours with the story…

Or YEARS

Is the story exciting…

Or haunting

Do I want to rest in a bath with this book…

Or sprint a marathon with it

Does the story feel EXTERNAL…

Or internal

Does it get into my MIND…

Or in my GUTS

Do I want to eat it…

Or create the recipe, prepare it, cook it and serve it

Do I daydream about it during a boring meeting…

Or skip a long-awaited day at the beach to work on it

Do I want to TALK about the story…

Or keep it silently stewing in my brain

Do I love it…

Or stalk it

Want it…

Or need it

Do I think about that story AND others…

Or when I think about another story does the first story SLAP me and drag me back down the rabbit hole?

These are just a few of the differences between a book I want to READ and a book I want WRITE.

So the next time someone tells you to write what you want to read, say YES…

But don’t forget the all-important follow-up question: do I also want to WRITE it?

 

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