Finding a story that matters is a tricky business. If you picked a story that matters to you and you only, you would’ve written a memoir. And memoirs by relatively unknown people don’t sell very well… if they sell at all.
You need something that others care about too. Here you have three interesting choices. One. You could write stories about what the people (or People with capital P) care about now, like Brexit, climate change, and the downfall of the global democratic order.
Two. You could write about what will—according to you—will be worth caring about in the future. You can convince people to care about the human rights of genetically unmodified, or planning for what comes after the climate disaster, or moving away from capitalism into a new form of running complex societies.
Three. If mass appeal is not what you’re after (good on you!), you can seek out tribes of Those Who Care About Something. The internet brims with the activity of dedicated communities you can become a part of. Join. Ask questions. Listen. Understand what matters to your tribe, and then write as if members of that tribe were the only people who were going to read your book.
Stories that matter are the only ones worth telling. Many writers fail because they set their sights too high. They want to write for the masses, but there is no such thing as the masses. Finding the smallest viable audience is often the trick to making a breakthrough.
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