Today in my free-writing group, I was given this quote on which to reflect:
“Write something to please yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it.” — Jesse Stuart
I think this is true on many levels, primarily because we put energy into our writing, which then may reflect back to the reader. I know that when I receive an assignment (or a freewriting prompt) which I do not “feel”, I struggle more to write it, and that it may affect the mood of the piece, if nothing else.
However, while I agree with the first part of this sentiment, I somewhat disagree with the second part. The fact is, there are plenty of successful writers out there (journalists mostly) who write about whatever the big story is—or whatever the editor assigns them. I think that it’s all in the mindset.
That is, writing about something that was assigned, while the initial assignment may be less than your dream story, can please the writer as well as the reader. Something that helps me is to research what I’m writing about, which gives me the opportunity to learn new things. That makes writing the stories that “aren’t me” much easier to enjoy.
Bottom line: while I think that Jesse Stuart was a gifted writer who had real things to say, this particular quote is one I’d consider more inspirational than entirely true. I would prefer to interpret this quote this way: “Enjoy whatever you’re writing, and your audience will too.”
It works for me!!
Learn it, live it, love it!!
Angela Atkinson is a Certified Life Coach and the author of more than 20 books on narcissism, narcissistic abuse recovery and related topics. A recognized expert on narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder who has studied and written extensively on narcissistic relationships since 2006, Atkinson was inspired to begin her work as a result of having survived toxic relationships of her own.
Atkinson offers trauma-informed coaching and has certifications in life coaching, level 2 therapeutic model, CBT coaching, integrative wellness coaching, and NLP. She is a certified trauma support coach and certified family trauma professional. She also has a professional PTSD counseling certification. Her mission is to help those who have experienced the emotional and mental devastation that comes with narcissistic abuse in these incredibly toxic relationships to (re)discover their true selves, stop the gaslighting and manipulation and move forward into their genuine desires – into a life that is exactly what they choose for themselves.
Along with her solution-focused life coaching experience, Atkinson’s previous career in journalism and research helps her to offer both accurate and understandable information for survivors of abuse in a simple-to-understand way that helps to increase awareness in the narcissistic abuse recovery community. Atkinson founded QueenBeeing.com Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support, the SPANily Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups and the Life Makeover Academy. In her life coaching practice, Atkinson’s clients enjoy her personalized approach that allows and encourages them to become the best possible versions of themselves and to succeed in doing what they love most. She offers individual and group coaching for victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse at NarcissisticAbuseRecovery.Online and NarcissismSupportCoach.com.