I was writing a short story one day when it occurred to me, This sucks. And I don’t mean the content of the story itself (although, that could have well been the case). The thought came to me while I was a good way through and it had to do with the writing process. I didn’t like what I was writing. As I was writing the story, I felt like the writing was tedious and bland. Nothing about writing this story excited me or interested me. I was writing for the sake of writing. I was going through the motions.
So, as any writer would do, I went inward. Why was I writing this story? For what purpose? Going deep the simple answer was this: to get the story published. I was writing for publication. I was writing by the guidelines, by the word count, by the concepts I was told to write about because that’s what gets published.
Of course, there is freedom in the guidelines. And not all writing has to be complete bliss with every word produced. But for me, at that moment, I became the writer with a short-sighted goal to be published and I would work my way dragging my feet through mud to get there. In the pursuit of publication I had lost my reason for writing. I missed the beauty of the forest for the trees.
So I scrapped the story. Maybe I’ll return to it one day because I still like the idea. It just wasn’t going anywhere remotely interesting.
And I think therein lies the power of a good story. If the writer is disinterested and writing a story without passion, it shows. It sucks. It translates to the reader. Readers are no fools.
But write a story with passion, purpose, and pleasure? You’ve got a story worth reading because it will take the reader places. All of your thoughts, desires, and purpose will translate over to the reader. And that’s when words move people.
So to end on a practical note, write stories because you love to write what you write. Whether it’s literary fiction, sci-fi/fantasy, romance, bromance, or children’s stories, write a story you enjoy. Then go looking for places that publish that kind of thing.