Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Writing 101: What Hasn’t Been Written Yet?

Why aren’t your books selling? It could be that your book is too similar to books that are already out there. Lots of authors find themselves telling the same stories over and over, and I maintain that anything that Shakespeare didn't write, the Greeks already wrote. To that end, lots of Shakespeare stuff looks like the Greek playwrights. So if you’re looking for a new idea anyway, look around the book market. And ask yourself this question: what hasn’t been written yet?

A Tale of Two Writers

So, you probably don’t think of Julia Child as a writer. If you think about her at all, it’s most likely you’re thinking of Dan Aykroyd. That’s what I think about: a tall woman with a high-pitched voice, showing me how to cook a turkey. But Julia Child was also an incredibly successful writer, and not just a world-famous chef. She noticed a book that didn't exist, and she wrote it. That’s pretty much what all authors want to do, and she succeeded at it.

Another writer, a woman named Julie, followed Julia Child’s example. She wanted to write about cooking like Julia Child, and started a blog to describe her successes and failures in working her way through “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” by Julia Child. Her blog became a highly successful book, and then it contributed to the feature film “Julie & Julia.” They were both somewhat unconventional writers, and they were both incredibly successful at what they did.

So how can you write something that no one else is writing? The answer is much more simple than you think: by being yourself. Both of these women didn’t run around asking everyone for advice about what to write. They just wrote what they felt like writing. Both wrote about food, and both did it in such a unique way that they managed to gain worldwide attention for it.

The book that hasn’t been written is the one that you have not yet written, the book that says something that only you can say. It’s there. Go write it.

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