There are those who write for the masses. It may not have been a lifelong dream to write…it might not have been a necessity to study the craft of writing. It might not have been a topic that was of real interest to the writer, but he/she wrote to SELL and sometimes, when that is governing the writing process, you lose yourself as the artist, and you cater to the public (or, more exact, the publishing house).
There are those who burn to write. There are those who can, with pinpoint accuracy, tell the story of the first time they smelled a sharpened pencil or put pen to paper and were enraptured by the experience. Studying what’s been written before and what’s written now is important. Understanding where they fit in within the literary world is important. And while it is important to write something that people want to buy, it is – in my opinion – more important to write something that MEANS something to you, the writer.
If I didn’t care about what I wrote, it would be crap. I know this. It might sell, and it would probably sell well, too, but it would always be crap to me. There is an authenticity to works that matter. There is an uniqueness to works that matter.
It is important to first – before checking out publishing houses to see “what’s hot” and trying to fit into the mold – to check out YOURSELF and see what matters to you.
Family matters to me. Relationships matter to me. Love matters to me. Faith matters to me. Those things we don’t like to talk about in public matter to me. Overcoming matters to me. Taking the small step into becoming everything you’re supposed to be in life matters to me. A world that is not just black…or not just white matters to me.
These are the things that are reflected in my work. These are the things that reflect me. These are the things that – I believe – others care about to some extent, too.
It’s not necessarily about writing what you KNOW about because I don’t know much about a lot of dark subjects, but I plan to research them because I want to write about the things that scare me, that we don’t talk about in public. It’s not necessarily about writing what you know…it’s about writing what resonates in the essence of you – those things that you hold dear, that you want to study, that you want to embody with words.
When we do this, we truly become a part of the writing process, and there will be a reader who will become a part of the process, too.
Despite what publishers say about what will or won’t sell, I believe we can market anything to sell – if done correctly. We’re so big on just wanting to keep pushing out the same ol same ol that we as readers keep getting a plethora of the same type of book – sometimes the same daggone book with names and locales being the only real difference.
When you write something that goes against the grain, you have to develop the query and the synopsis, and the pitch that goes against the grain, too. You have to build a package that is ALL or NOTHING. You have to pitch as if your work’s very life is at stake – because it is.
Don’t worry about whether a house will buy your work; worry about if you could stand to have others read the work and attribute it to YOU. In the end, the words reflect you; if you write for others, you may sell, but you’ll forever be attached to the project.
Write something that you can be proud of. Write something that leaves a mark of you in the world. Write something that others can connect with.
Things like this – and that pertain to writerly subjects can be found @ ChickLitGurrl on Writing: http://chicklitgurrl.tumblr.com/