I’m a big fan of Jeff Martin’s blog “The Oak Wheel”, which was why I was interested in what he had to say about how important it is for writers to write what they love, not necessarily what they think will become the next blockbuster. This isn’t to say it’s not important to consider your audience, unless you don’t care if you ever get read at all. Audience matters. Readers matter. But when you’re constantly bending, twisting, and polishing every word of every sentence of every paragraph of every chapter into all sorts of unnaturally perverse shapes and positions designed to point you in the direction of superstardom, chances are you’re pointing yourself in the exact opposite direction.
Just write the damned thing already.
Anyway, here’s what Jeff said on Amused Now.
“My biggest advice is to write for yourself and put that out there. I’m also a musician. I spent most of my twenties chasing a dream that I would be commercially successful as a musician, and my music was greatly affected by it. In hindsight, I should have just written for myself. So, now as a writer, when I sit down at the keyboard, I put forth a product that I want to read, not necessarily something I think will be commercially successful. Although it seems counter-intuitive, I think that’s the best way to get noticed.
“Promotion is one thing, but people notice when you are passionate about something. Don’t get mired down with ‘Is someone going to like this?’ If you don’t like it, then probably no one else will. So, start with yourself and go from there.”
There’s never any guarantees, and when you try to chase what you think is a sure thing then the only sure thing is that you’re likely to wind up in a barren field somewhere talking to yourself while trying to figure out which way that sure thing went. Because after all, if you’re the kind of person who can only tolerate the sure things in life, you most assuredly would not have chosen to be a writer.