WRITING WHAT YOU LOVE
Quick, who wrote the novel Typee?
Oh, please leave a comment if you knew this right off.
Quickly, who wrote Omoo? Leave a comment if you knew this as well.
Now quickly, who wrote Moby Dick? Ah, sigh, Herman Melville.
Did you know he wrote the other two as well? Before he wrote Moby Dick, Melville was well known at the time for writing pop fiction (adventure stories to be exact). Moby Dick was completely different from anything he’d ever written before. When the book hit the public’s eye, there was outrage. Critics trashed it. One newspaper went so far as to print a headline that he’d gone mad. Family members urged him to have a doctor check him out for possible insanity!
Instead of caving in and writing what the public demanded, Melville refused. He wrote to his father-in-law during the creation of Moby Dick, telling him that everything else he had written in the past was tied to purse strings. He was finally at a place in life where he could write not for market success, but for the love of it, and so he wrote Moby Dick from his heart and soul.
Not until some thirty years after his death, and seventy years after Moby Dick was published was Melville’s brilliant novel regarded as a masterpiece.
I know you’ve heard similar stories, but I think it’s important to remind ourselves, in this day of “author branding” (a relatively new concept in the past ten years), that we need to write from the heart. In fact, I am writing this today, not for you, but for myself as a reminder that I must write what I love. If my words happen to strike a chord with you, then welcome to my world.
My “brand” would have to be “writer of sensuous Victorian Romance”. However, I still feel driven to one day write the WWII love story that prowls the interior of my soul. If branding rules it out, it will be written under a pen name, I don’t care, just as long as I can write to my heart’s content. Maybe I’ll name it Moby Dick. No? OK.
Have a great day.