"God moves in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform..." William Cowper

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Story of Your Heart


You know that story, the one that’s sat in the back of your mind for months, maybe years? The one that you have no trouble summoning up passion for, the one you’re excited to write, the one you are determined to breathe life into before you die?


The one that you’ve been told will be a hard sell. Not marketable. The one no one will want to take on.

And so the timeless question arises: write what’s on your heart, or write what sells? I’ve read many articles and blog posts discussing this very question. Most of the answers revolve around the idea that writers can only write well when they write what they’re passionate about—when they write what’s on their heart.


Makes sense, doesn’t it? Why then, am I hesitating?

 As I begin to write my third manuscript, I’m tempted to write what others may consider an “easier sell.” But I can’t get excited about any such ideas. It’s that story, again. The one that’s begging to be written.



And yet if I were any kind of a skilled writer, wouldn’t I be able to suck it up and get passionate about an easy sell? Come up with some grand new ideas that are more marketable?


Can you tell I’m confused? Please, I’d love to know about your past experiences regarding this matter. Advice welcome!




photo credit: flickr

14 comments:

  1. Oh, Heidi, this is a tough one. I feel like I've been in this boat before at a few points and it seems like each time I've been able to find a balance. I've had to trust that my ideas weren't too far out there, even if I had to tweak them a little, and snuggle those ideas into the right genre. I wrote both books that were on my heart for years, and both made me cry to write them and finish them because I was so passionate about their messages. Neither has been published or gone very far but I don't regret writing them at all. They've made me a better writer and given me ideas on ways to incorporate that same strong message in other books I've written. I'll pray for direction with your ideas and peace about what you decide to do.

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    1. Thank you so much, Cindy. I really appreciate your advice and it's a relief to hear that you don't regret writing those stories that were on your heart. I suppose any practice writing is helpful--even if it never sells.

      Thank you, my friend!

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    2. Heidi, my favorite saying is: Leap and the net will appear. And another thought is that if your heart is in what you are writing you will do fine. People will hear the heart in what you write. And that's what writing is all about. Go for it. Write what your heart tells you to write. You can always go back to the other idea later.

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    3. Thanks so much, Holly! Love that: "Leap and the net will appear." LOL

      I'll definitely keep that in mind as I leap!

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  2. I'm not so sure there's an easy sell out there. There are publishers who take on unpublished authors without an agent, but they still maintain high writing standards.

    The story of my heart was my first sale, but it took over a decade to refine, then finally sell. You as the author need to have a passion for your story so your agent/editor/reader will share your passion. If the story of your heart isn't selling, is it due to the subject matter, the craft, or timing in the marketplace. Surrender it to God and ask for clarity.

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, Lisa, and thank you for your advice!

      How amazing that God used your perseverance and passion to write a story for Him. Very cool!

      Remembering to surrender to Him... :) Thanks, Lisa.

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  3. I guess I would fall in the write-your-passion camp. You never know if it will be an easier sell by the time it's finished. And now is the perfect time to write it, when you don't have a publisher's deadline breathing down your neck. :)

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    1. Ahhhh....you are so right, Sarah. I suppose there is freedom in that after all. Thanks!

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  4. Heidi,
    I'm visiting from Lisa Jordan's blog -- and I think you comment on several other blogs I follow.
    Here's my thought: Ultimately, you will write your passion. Reading between the lines of this blog, I hear your heartbeat and it's already thrumming along with that idea, that story ... why wait?
    Sure, you could write what is marketable. But that's not guarantee of publication. Really. It's not. So, you might as well write the story that you care about most deeply.

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    1. Wow, thank you Beth! LOL You really did read right through me. ;)

      And I agree with what you're saying, as far as there being no guarantee of publication. Still, I needed to hear that. Thank you, and thanks so much for stopping by!

      I think I'll go start some research for that story that's on my heart now. :)

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  5. Heidi, go for it! I wrote the story of my heart and earned a contract. Honestly, the publishing journey is too difficult to write anything but the story of your heart. You have to believe in your own work and write the very, very best you can write. That will only happen if you're following your passion as a writer. Also, the publishing world is changing so much that there's little point in trying to predict what's coming. :-)

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    1. So very true, Rosslyn! I hadn't thought of it that way, either.

      Thank you so much for stopping by! (I'm reading FAIRER THAN MORNING right now and loving it! That must be the story of your heart...) ;)

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  6. This is the way I see it. Who, ultimately, controls how a book sells? God. If He wants you to publish a book, then you will. If He has put a story on your heart, then the outcome is for Him to decide. Trust Him.

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    1. Thank you, Storyteller! ;) You, of course, are so right also. He's the only one worth writing for in the first place. I think I slip up when I lose sight of that.

      Thank you and God bless!!

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