You’re unique, so be you! A guest post by J. Scott Sharp

by Julie Frayn on June 12, 2012 in  Writing

I’d like to welcome my friend, J. Scott Sharp (Jason to the rest of us) to my blog!  This is my first guest post, and I am very pleased that it is Jason.  He blogs at jscottsharp.blogspot.ca.  You can find him on Twitter too, @jscottsharp.

J. Scott Sharp

First, I want to thank Julie for an opportunity to be on her blog. She is a great friend and I am very thankful. I will try to leave your blog in the same condition that I found it in…but I’m not promising anything. :)

I have a new credo.

I have a new paradigm.

I have a new belief.

Here it is: I WOULD RATHER WRITE WHAT IS IN MY HEART AND SEARCH FOR READERS, THAN WRITE WHAT EVERYONE THOUGHT I SHOULD AND HAVE A MILLION READERS.

The realization that some people will not like your writing, even if you are making six-figures writing it, is a new one for me. I was, just recently, getting my feelings hurt by those who thought they needed to tell me that my writing wasn’t good enough. Soon I figured it out. Opinions are like….well, just go ahead and use your favorite metaphor. But it’s true…everyone has an opinion. Understand that writing is subjective. That’s why there are so many different authors. There are so many different readers. That’s why there are so many different genres. For instance, I don’t particularly like historical novels. That doesn’t mean they don’t have an audience, they just don’t appeal to me. In the grand scheme of things, my opinion is worth almost nothing.

I am about to give you some solid advice for writing, but also for living. You will never please everybody, so stop trying. In the end, do your best, put your heart into whatever you do, and then let it go. This is my new paradigm. I am going to stop trying to matter so much. Those who like who I am and what I do will show their appreciation. Those who don’t appreciate my particular personality, or my writing, will show that too. And they do, believe me.

For writers I have only one thing to add. I would rather read a piece of fiction or non-fiction from someone who poured their guts onto a page than someone who was trying, desperately, to follow in the footsteps of Amanda Hocking or John Locke. You will never be those people or have the fans that they have. You will have your own…for your own reasons. Do you. Be you. And don’t worry about those who want you to be someone else. They aren’t your fans anyway.

You’re unique…so stay that way.

 

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

tori June 12, 2012 at 7:37 am

Couldn’t agree more, Jason! I think if someone is writing for the sole purpose of attention or fame, then it is natural that they write what people want to hear. That being said, I hate the idea of that. I’d like to think that I can say or write anything. Maybe only one person will read and connect with it, but reaching that one person WHILE writing what I mean is enough.

Reply

Jason Sharp June 12, 2012 at 9:24 am

Hi Tori,

I truly believe that if we write what is in our heart, we will write things that connect with others. Not all writing is cathartic. It doesn’t all answer the questions of the universe that have been rattling around in our brains, but if we write what we desire to write, we will do it with passion. Passion is the key to tapping into an emotional experience for a reader. I believe that if we write for the sole purpose of attracting readers, we actually let go of the passion that would attract them to begin with. Just my opinion.

Lisa June 12, 2012 at 8:10 am

Jason,

I so needed these words today. While I try to write like that in general, sometimes that little voice inside gets in the way and says “you need to write ____ if you ever want to succeed.” But, I am in the process of redefining success for myself, and that redefinition includes writing what I need to write and doing projects that speak to my heart, rather than trying to be someone based on other’s definitions of me.

Reply

Jason Sharp June 12, 2012 at 9:33 am

Hi Lisa,

I’m glad that something that I said helped. This is a good example of what i am saying. This blog post was a result of some things I was going through. I would never do anything to disrespect Julie’s blog, but this was somethingattling around in my heart for a while. I had no one in mind, to impress, when I wrote it. It was a life lesson for me. I am not saying that everything you write in fiction has to be based on real life experience, heck that might even be a subject for another blog post some other time, but I am saying that the only audience you should look at is yourself. Ultimately, you have to feel good about what you wrote. Can you truly feel good if the only reason you wrote was to impress? What about the love of putting a series of words together? What about the feeling that it gives you when you put these words together into a perfectly beautiful sentence? Would you still write if you were never going to be successful? I would and have for 43 years. Time to reconnect with who we are when we write and not who everyone wants us to be. Write the book that you have always wanted to write. Forget about how you believe everyone will receive it. Good luck :)

Reply

Jester Queen June 12, 2012 at 10:41 am

Words to live by. I’ve never been very good at writing like anybody else but me!

Reply

Jason Sharp June 12, 2012 at 12:38 pm

Hi Jester Queen,

You do yourself and your reader a wonderful service by continuing to have that attitiude. Just keep being you! :)

Reply

Jen Chatfield June 12, 2012 at 2:21 pm

Love this! In both writing and life I learned long ago to listen to my heart and tune out others (except those who hold me up) and I’ve been much, much happier ever since.

I always say I’d rather people remember me as someone who wrote from the heart than someone who sold millions of books…even though I’d be okay if both came true!

Reply

Jason Sharp June 12, 2012 at 3:44 pm

Hi Jen,

Boy! I would love to make a living selling millions of books, but I don’t know if it would be worth it if I had to write what I thought others were going to buy. Eventually I would write what I didn’t want to write…then it would just be a job instead of the realization of a dream. If I wanted a job, I wouldn’t use writing to get there. LOL

Reply

Jase Rosenburg (@JaseR75) June 12, 2012 at 8:46 pm

Probably one of the best blog posts I’ve read in quite some time. You said it so well. I agree 100% and I’m glad someone had the balls to stand up and say it. LOVED it!

Reply

Jason Sharp June 12, 2012 at 9:06 pm

Hey Jase,

I appreciate the compliment. Thanks very much! :)
Writing would be an incredible business to be financially successful in, but at what cost? I wish people would just be themselves instead of giving their readers another vampire book…or zombie book…or …..

Reply

S. M. Boyce June 13, 2012 at 4:15 pm

“Opinions are like….well, just go ahead and use your favorite metaphor.” Hahahaha! I love it. Nice post.

Reply

Jason Sharp June 13, 2012 at 8:49 pm

Thanks Boyce! Technically, it’s a simile or a metaphor…but I really like the word “metaphor” meta-phooooor! LOL

Reply

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