As writers, our stories must stand out for many reasons: to get an agent, to fetch a publisher, to hook the reader. So a lot of grit, passion and…some other third thing goes into our writing. When we finally finish a work in progress, we go through a gambit of mixed emotions.
Joy because you can finally step away from this story you’ve rewritten a bajillion times. Self-doubt because it’s never good enough. Pride because 80,000 words! And a little bit of pressure because we know that a writer never stops writing and that the next project we take on will be our WIP for the next year or so and maybe…just maybe this time it will be the one.
So, you think and you dream and you plot and you brainstorm, hoping for that perfect story. The one people won’t be able to put down. The one that will get you an agent. The one that will corkscrew it’s way into your readers’ souls so that they can’t stop thinking about it even when they’re not reading it. The one that will change lives. And inside the pressure cooker, the heat intensifies.
It’s in these moments that we weigh our options. We research as though we were looking for the cure for a pandemic. What’s trending? What do agents want? What do they hate? How far would I go to make my story stand out? And the irony of it all is that by doing this, we end up just another drop in an ocean of water, another noise in a cacophony of look-at-me’s!
But don’t be discouraged. This truth, ironically, sheds light on the old writer’s cliche: write what you know; write what you love. You know why? Because YOU’RE unique and when everyone else is blending by bending to the trends, your unique voice will shine and the passion of what you wrote will be felt because it’s real.
So, be real. Write from the heart. You’ll enjoy the process so much more and chances are, you’ll stand out. The pressure is still there. It’s real. But here’s the thing about pressure…