Are the Books You Don’t Want to Write the Stories That Need to Be Told?

I did not want to write it. And yet, out it came.

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I did not want to write it.

I did not want to tell the story. I did not want to put it on paper. Because that would make it real.

I’ve become much more aware, since revamping my blog in 2015, of how afraid people are of telling their own stories. It’s not that we don’t all secretly love talking about ourselves — it’s human nature to be a little self-centered even when you aren’t trying to be. It’s just that, well, some stories are hard to tell.

Like mine. Hard to put into words. Hard to imagine anyone else ever understanding as well as I do.

I did not want to write it. And yet I felt called to unleash a story only I could tell, literally awakened in the middle of the night with worries about what would happen if I took a true experience, twisted it around, made up a cast of characters loosely based on people I adored, and told a story without telling MINE.

It scared me, even the thought of opening myself up not just to fictional people (my characters) but to real ones (potential readers). I mean, what if they hated it — hated me? What if they LIKED it — LIKED me — and I became swept into this rush of praise I didn’t think the story deserved?

What if being honest wasn’t for the best after all?

I didn’t want to find out. But I also felt as though I had to.

I did not want to write it. And yet, out it came, spilling from me as if it would have burst from inside me in a rush whether I willingly permitted it to or not.

I did not want to write it. Yet once I started, I could not cease.

And I quickly realized in some inconceivable way that this story and I were bound to each other — an inseparable bond that only strengthened as the words flowed from me in waves.

This was meant to be. Somehow, I just knew. Perhaps I’d always known.

The more I grow as a writer, the more I believe that there are some stories only one person is capable of writing — maybe because they offer a unique perspective on an issue or because they’ve dedicated their entire life to studying a subject or because an idea simply chose them and they know in their hearts they’re meant to see it through till the end.

Sometimes I wonder what happens to the stories that never get written. Not the ones that are written and never shared. The ones that stay ideas in someone’s head and never find their way out.

That scares me more than the possibility of telling a story that is important to me and watching people react to it.

I made a promise long ago that if a story ever found me and took my thoughts hostage to such an extreme that I could no longer ignore it, I would heed to its demands. I told myself that if I felt The Pull, I would respond.

I did not want to. But I did it anyway.

I did not want to write it. But now that I have, I’m infatuated with the possibility of sharing it someday.

Now that I’ve set the story free, I’ve seen — for the first time — how free doing so has made me.


Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a 10-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.


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6 thoughts on “Are the Books You Don’t Want to Write the Stories That Need to Be Told?

  1. We have nothing to fear from our writing, except fear itself (sorry for the paraphrase from FDR). I am just about prepared to post a short story so I have conquered some of my own fears.

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