You might have heard this one: “Don't write unless you have something to say!” This advice comes up often, so I'd like to address it.
Is it true? Should you only write if you have something profound to say, an enlightening message that hasn't been heard before?
My opinion: You should absolutely write if you feel like it, nothing else matters. Even if you think your underlying plot is unoriginal, often copied. And here is why:
Fiction books, especially commercial fiction, are entertainment. They might be profound, deep, and teach you something new. However, they don't have to do that to be loved.
I believe passion will show anyway, even if your story is simple. Not everything needs to be profound.
Originality helps, but you don't need to rely on it: There are fiction books with genuinely unusual premises, stories with a never heard before hook. But many popular books or movies use the most overused settings and tropes, and are famous anyway.
The reason is that flawless execution of a rehashed idea can be more compelling than bad execution of something original. Originality doesn't hurt, but in the end, execution matters.
You want to sit down and find an idea for a deep underlying message before you start your book? Well, some of us writers just don't work that way:
If you are a discovery writer, your creative process may consist of starting with boring randomness until you discover the depth later. If you are that sort of writer and you wait for a profound idea before you start writing, then you will never write anything.
You may not even think what you write has a message, but many people might still see one. It's fine to set out to share an idea but people may find their own meaning even if you don't plan for it.
What mainly matters, especially for fiction books, is that you have passion, personal investment. I recommend you either love the writing process itself or the creation resulting from it. If you are passionate, I believe it will show.
Therefore, if you just write because it feels prestigious you may have trouble drawing readers in. People can usually tell whether you truly care.
Thanks for reading the article. Find more advice on writing here. And remember, always keep writing to get better!
Sign up for the official newsletter here: