“This is the worst writing ever,” my husband says one lazy morning as we were lying in bed watching “Message in a Bottle” on the tube.
“You’re calling Nicholas Sparks the worst writer?”
It was that moment when Robin Wright is walking away from Kevin Costner and he says; “I don’t want to lose you,” and she replies; “Then don’t,” and keeps right on walking.
“Okay,” I prop myself up on one elbow. “But you know he’s like, extremely successful, right? He’s published seventeen novels and one super awesome non-fiction book.”
“Yeah, but this is garbage. It’s written for women. It’s just what women want to hear.”
I won’t lie. I get what he’s hinting at. Even I could almost smell the cheese while watching that movie, but does that mean it’s the worst writing ever?
Nicholas Sparks is clearly a massive success. Almost half of his books have been adapted to film and there aren’t many people out there who don’t know his name. So, the question comes to mind – if he’s not everyone’s cup of tea, does that make him an awful writer? Ugh, did I just say that out loud? Not a question. Never even should’ve come up because the answer is an emphatic no. We all write in different styles and different genres and there’s always going to be that doubt. Will people like it? Will anyone think it’s stupid? If Nicholas Sparks can’t woo absolutely everyone, how will I?
You don’t need to.
Don’t listen. Keep writing. Be you. As much as I, as a general rule, feel that saying preachy stuff like “be your authentic stuff” is redundant, I think in this case it holds some meaning. Don’t change your voice because you think it may not appeal to an entire world. Doing so will lead you away from where you’re meant to end up and you will not be happy. And what is true success when all is said and done? Happiness.
Nick Sparks is a former full scholarship athlete so I’m sure being razzed about writing girly stories isn’t new to him. I’m also pretty sure he’s darn glad he didn’t stop.
After all, everybody has different tastes, but most people appreciate a little cheese with their whine.
*Message in a Bottle opened at #1 on the Valentine Day‘s weekend of 1999 with an estimated $16.7 million. It grossed $52.8 million domestically with an additional $66 million overseas to a total of $118.8 million worldwide. – courtesy of Wikipedia
*”Nicholas Sparks is one of the world’s most beloved storytellers. All of his books have been New York Times bestsellers, with over 97 million copies sold worldwide, in more than 50 languages, including over 65 million copies in the United States alone.” – a snippet from Nicholas Sparks’ Biography.