How Do You Choose What To Write About?

How do you choose what to write about

How do you choose what to write about? Not so much in blogging, but in “big” publish-able book terms? I have two main books that I think could be taken to a mainstream publisher. (For some reason, neither feel right to me for self publishing.)

How do you choose what to write about

One is about Ben’s journey with diabetes and all the frustrations, difficulties, annoying lapses in the health care system and so many more things over the past few years. A lot of it is from diaries I kept at the time, or old private LiveJournal posts. It sits at around 14,800 words, but I’ve written it on a few computers, so I need to check which one is most current!


The other book that I have is about all the jobs I’ve had. Anecdotes, funny stories, weird interviews and so on. That one is sitting around the 15,000 word mark and could easily and quickly be expanded.


Both of these books are fairly raw right now, they’re hastily written stories or copied journal entries, pasted in a rough order. So these word counts are without any sort of editing, explanation or overarching story. Once they’re more fluid and have an actual pace to them, they will read a lot nicer than they do right now!


But what have I been doing instead of writing one or both of these books? I write here a lot and I’ve created a series worksheets that I’m planning to release for my life coaching business. Both feel like more positive uses of my time.


Then things come up on social media that make me change my mind. Like a conversation the other day about how type 1 diabetics are left out in the cold when it comes to public image and understanding. Here I have a book partially written about what it’s like to be in the Queensland health care system with that exact condition. A book describing the good and bad days. The good and bad of the health system. This book could help people.


At times like this, I feel selfish sitting on it and leaving it in its unpublished state. But I also hate talking about this period of our lives. It was hard. It was depressing. I was angry recently when I had to relive some of it for a stupid government form. The problem with publishing a book like the diabetes one is that there is a risk of me having to talk about it in promoting it. Or being seen as an activist. I am not an activist type of person. Ben’s health is still a mix of issues – I wouldn’t be publishing this book as any sort of book other than my personal experience. The book doesn’t have a nice bow on it with all the issues wrapped up.


Is it selfish to keep such a book to myself? Is it wrong to sell it; should I publish it for free?


I would probably rather write my anecdotes about working book – it’s funnier and much less stressful to me! Though, as someone wise pointed out to me recently, it might make it harder to get a job when people know stories will end up in books 🙂


What would you do?


6 Replies to “How Do You Choose What To Write About?”

  1. Do what works for you. It sounds like you’re more comfortable with the work one – you can always approach the diabetes one later after your first one is a HIT and you’re multi-millionaire!! OF COURSE! Good luck with the decision. And the writing. x

    1. I guess I’d be more comfortable writing the diabetes one if Ben’s health issues (not only relating to that) had some sort of stability or resolution.
      And I like the idea of being a multi- millionaire author haha 🙂

  2. You need to do what feels right to you. Write the book that feeds your soul (so that sounds like the second one). Yes, it has to have a market. Yes it has to help others in some tangible way. But if you write a book for the latter two reasons only and the first bit is missing … there won’t be enough of you in there to make is good 🙂

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      Very wise words, thanks Kelly 🙂

  3. I think you already know the answers – you are the drawn to the one that you get the most enjoyment out of. I say do the one you are going to love doing xx

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      It really didn’t feel like I did know, but re-reading this myself a day later does make it seem rather clear! It’s amazing what writing does to help.

Leave a Reply