When you really want something, it eats at you.
The smallest prickle on your skin, the near indiscernible flip of your stomach. The tiny voice you can’t seem to make go away.
The passion nudges you constantly. Listen to it. Your passion knows what’s up. It knows when you need it—and when you just want it.
Because there’s something different about wanting something that you truly want versus wanting something because it’s “the thing.” And if you’re not skilled in the art of listening to your body, it’s easy to confuse want with need.
Want is going after it because it feels good.
Need is going after it because you have no other choice. Because need permeates your bones—your soul—and it won’t let go.
Everyone’s wants and needs are different. A want for one person may be a need for somebody else. And there’s nothing wrong with that—difference is what helps make the world turn ‘round.
But do you know how many people have told me they want to write a book? It’s practically today’s calling card. People ask what I do, I mention that I write, and we’re off to the races. “I have the most incredible book idea! I really want to write it!” Or sometimes, “You should write it for me!”
And do you know—I think maybe one person out of the hundreds of people I’ve had the “book writing” conversation with, has actually followed through and written a book. Because for that one person, it was a need—a deeply rooted desire to share a story—while for everyone else it was a want.
Remember, want can transform into need. That’s how book writing happened for me. I wanted to write a book for a really long time. Dreamt about it, imagined various plots and characters, and imagined fame—always fame. Always notoriety.
But I never followed through.
Until one day a character so wonderful entered my brain that I simply couldn’t shake her. She was intelligent, hardworking, gifted, warm and funny. She cared fiercely for her friends and family and desperately wanted to better herself and her circumstances. And she rarely made good decisions.
Maybe it was because I felt that if she were real, we’d have been friends. But whatever it was, when I met Marian Moyer, I needed to write her story. And I didn't care if she led me down the path of a wonderful hobby or toward agent-land: I needed to make her as real as I knew how.
It wasn’t easy. I had no idea what I was doing. There were days of manic writing and days of procrastinating like a boss. Days of brilliant ideas and days of, “Where the hell did that come from?”
And the loneliness.
Writing a book is a lonely, sometimes miserable job.
Yet the need never left me—and the want never returned.
Ever since that day, writing books has been a need I have. And writing a book is a much healthier addiction than some—crack, for instance—but it still puts you through the ringer. In writing a book you question yourself constantly. But you also discover yourself. You write entire chapters that you hate and want to delete. And then you find yourself in them and realize that you don’t need to delete your story—you simply need to rework it.
Writing books allow you to do that, by the way. All of the magical thing you probably wish could happen in real life. To turn back time, erase the bad, inject the good, fix and fix, over and over and over until you’re holding a finished product.
Granted, the end of the first draft is really only the beginning of your self-publishing journey.
But now that the need has fastened itself to your soul, there’s no stopping you.