Write the Things Worth WritingPosted: June 4, 2010
One of my favorite movie lines comes from the Rob Reiner film The American President, starring Michael Douglas and Annette Bening.
In the midst of a bunch of political melodrama, the president (Douglas) says, “We fight the fights we can win.”
And then, in a magical moment of movie history, the subservient speech writer Lewis (played by Michael J. Fox) who has stuck to his boss’s side throughout the years, retorts with defiance: “You fight the fights that need fighting!” It’s inspiring and compelling.
To continue on what I posted yesterday, let’s draw an analogy to the writing process. As you well know by now, you don’t write for recognition or to get published.
Real writers write because they have to. It’s a compulsion. A calling. Something that they can’t not do.
However, when you do get published (and if you have the right attitude about it, you probably will), it’s easy to start writing what people want to hear.
It’s easy to get caught up in the politics of it, to learn how to coddle your readers (instead of challenging them). To appease instead of tease. To only pick the fights you can win.
But I propose an alternative to you: If writing is something that you can’t not do, write the things worth writing and don’t give a damn about “winning” or “losing.”
(Secret: If you love writing, you win every time… regardless of the outcome.)