Write something to please yourself…

Written by Angela Atkinson

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!!

xoxo


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