The other day I was responding to a comment left by Lady Glamis and wrote the following:
Lady Glamis – maybe you and I are more in tune with our writing than we were before. I know I’ve grown with my writing over the last few years since I started writing about things (i.e., themes, I guess) that mattered to me. It’s when I quit caring about an audience, a hot genre, and just began to write for myself that my writing took off. Yeah, I know, I’m considering urban fantasy. Go figure!! Still, I’m writing the urban fantasy on my terms . . . and I think, for me at least, that’s the most important thing of all.
Now, as is often the case, my responses to someone's blog post or comment often inspires me to write a blog post . . . or two, or three, or whatever. This time it wasn't any different.
I know I've grown with my writing over the last few years since I started writing about things (i.e., themes, I guess) that mattered to me.
Margarita Nights began as writing about something that was important to me and that I wanted to read. I wanted something I could relate to on both a personal and intellectual level that hadn't been written before. Okay, it's probably been written before, but I haven't read it . . . so there!! So, I set fingers to keyboard and typed away. I wrote the rough draft of the first half in 2 weeks, and the rough of the second half in about 4 weeks.
It’s when I quit caring about an audience, a hot genre, and just began to write for myself that my writing took off.
You see, I wasn't thinking about a major audience, I was only thinking about me when I began the project. I kept thinking about me, me, me, and me some more through the entire writing process. There wasn't an imaginary audience - i.e., people this book would specifically apply to - in the back of my mind, or the forefront for that matter, as I wrote this book. Then again, there was, because I was writing for others like myself, others in my community. The point is: the others in my community weren't the specific audience I had in mind. I was the specific audience.
It was freeing to write just for me. It was freeing to write solely for my own enjoyment without giving a flying hoot about anybody else but me, me, me and more me!
Yeah, I know, I’m considering urban fantasy. Go figure!! Still, I’m writing the urban fantasy on my terms . . . and I think, for me at least, that’s the most important thing of all.
Yes, an audience is important. Yes, paying attention to audience is important. But what do we, as writers, sacrifice to write for a specific audience versus writing for ourselves first, and an audience second?
What's hot today, might not be hot by the time we get ready to search for an agent. What then? Do we give up that project, spend a few years on writing what's hot and then . . . find out it's no longer hot? Hmmmm . . .
I think we all need to write on our terms . . . every single time. Genres come and go. Audiences come and go. In the end, I think we need to be true to ourselves first and foremost. We need to write what we are passionate about, and not what a fickle audience - thought they might well pay our bills one day - wants to read today, because we ain't getting published today. We're getting published sometime in the - hopefully near - future.