Write What You Want to Read (in response to Max Landis)

The entertainment industry is without a doubt one of the hardest industries to break into. Every year, thousands of scripts are blacklisted to make room for endless sequels, reboots, remakes, etc.

Getting published as an author isn’t easier either. The only difference is the amount of publishing companies worldwide seems to be far greater than the amount of movie studios you could pitch to. You can literally Google publishing agencies where you live, and can lose up to a day reading through them all.

Max Landis recently made a video talking about writers who get bogged down because they aren’t where they want to be right now. I’ll post the link since it’s better you hear his point from him than me.

I’ve been writing my whole life, ever since I was a little kid. Stories and creativity has always been what I feel I’m good at. Sometimes, it feels like the only thing I’m good at.

As of now I’ve finished one project, and have several others in development, because I just can’t help myself. I love to write. I get ideas for stories every other day.

This one project I started on was in late 2013, and as the time of writing this, I’m still polishing it after months of rejection letters and various ways to get it out there.

People often tell me that they have an idea for a story, which always intrigues me. The most common thing I hear is “I don’t have the time to write like you do.”

If you write at all for reasons other than schoolwork or your job, you are a writer. It shouldn’t matter about whether you think you’re good or not. Realising whether you’re good at writing is all a part of subjectivity. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but there are people out there who will not like your work.

The weird thing is, you can’t spend all your time worrying about that.

All you can do is write.

If you’re passionate enough and someone out there reads your work and likes it, that’s sometimes all it takes.

Another issue I want to touch on is how people choose the projects they want to work on. Often, they will look at bestsellers and try and derive ideas from whatever is selling. I suppose this is an attempt to beat the system.

The problem is, if you’re not passionate or feel anything about that idea, you’re not going to have a good time writing it. That’s going to be apparent in the finished product. You can tell when a writer is passionate about the story they’re writing. You can also tell when a writer simply doesn’t care and is just exploiting the idea for a paycheck.

Take me for example, I like reading fun adventures with quirky, layered characters, crisp storytelling and a memorable villain. That’s what I write.

I will probably never write a dark, gritty fantasy story. It’s just not my style. I don’t relate with that kind of story the same way I would with Harry Potter.

But there are other writers out there who eat up fantasy stories. They love to explore world-building and weird spells and all that jazz. They’re passionate about it.

That’s why they write it.

You can’t write a story to try and beat the system or overtake it, because what’s the point in writing something if you know yourself you’d much rather be working on something else?

Erotica stories like the Fifty Shades trilogy are bestsellers, I’m never going to write an erotic story. Why? I wouldn’t feel at home with it. It’s not what charges or interests my creativity as a writer.

My point is, if you’re a creator. If you write scripts, books, or anything. Even if you paint pictures or do graphic design or any form of art. Look at the things that inspire you. What’s the thing that made you decide “I want to do things like that.” ?

Stories like Harry Potter, A Series of Unfortunate Events, Spider-Man, etc. all made me want to write adventures with fun characters. Sure, you can switch and swap the formula around to fit whatever genre you like, but if you’re not enjoying writing something and know that you’re just doing it to follow a system you may not agree with, what is the point in even expressing yourself at all? You’re not expressing yourself, you’re adhering to a system you don’t even want to be a part of.

Someone out there will like your work. Someone out there will hate your work. Someone out there will be important enough to give you a shot. The point is, you can never stop trying.

Write the story you want to read.

Paint the picture you want to paint.

Produce the art that expresses how you feel.

What’s the point in creating art if the art you produce doesn’t reflect you at all?