“If there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”
When I was pursuing my degree at UBC, one of the books that I was assigned to read was The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. The highly controversial story approaches such subject matter as racism, incest and rape. Given this kind of context, it can be a difficult read, but is a worthwhile one, offering some incredible insights into the world of a poor black girl in post-Depression era America.
And that’s really at the heart of what author Toni Morrison is telling us in that quote above. If you want to read something, but it doesn’t seem to exist yet, then you just may have a moral obligation to write it yourself. It could be incredibly esoteric, but no matter how narrow the focus, there is an audience.
While I would not necessarily say that you should write a blog or a book for the sole purpose of selling as many copies as possible, I would say that no matter what you choose to write, you must remain true to yourself. Speaking for myself, I didn’t have much in terms of a guide or a mentor when I first started freelancing. There are things that I may have done differently. And that’s why I wanted to share my personal experience and expertise with a guide for people who are considering a freelance career.
That’s why I wrote and published Beyond the Margins. I wanted to provide the online (and offline) community with a useful resource, helping freelancers get started on the right foot. It’s a book that I would have wanted to read before I started.
The kind of philosophy expressed by Toni Morrison applies both to works of fiction and non-fiction equally. If you have a story to tell, if you have knowledge and experience that would benefit others, if you have a curiosity of a subject that has not been suitably explored by others, you need to put those thoughts into words. You need to write it.
And if you don’t think you’re much of an author yourself, you can always seek the assistance of a professional writer and editor. You may already know one. 🙂
Image credit: Angela Radulescu (walkingthedeepfield) on Flickr