Time for another Blog Chain. This round was started by my crit bud Michelle McLean, and the topic sorta came from a convo we had the other day. She wanted to know:

Do you write for the market or for yourself? Why? Are there times you do both? Or times when you’ve written something specifically because it was “hot” at the moment? If so, how did it turn out?

So – a little background to the question. As you guys know, I was at a SCBWI retreat last weekend. The editors at the retreat all said, don’t write to a trend. Write what you’re passionate about and we will be passionate too.

Sound advice, right.

Ironically, I participated in a workshop with a published author for YA as well. Her advice was quite different. She said, while you should write what you enjoy, you NEED to pay attention to the market. She cited several examples of writerly friends that struggled to get their well-crafted, agent-represented books published until they found their stride aligning with the market.

Interesting, isn’t it?!?

Shaun tapped into the same idea about writing with the market in mind (which he aptly indicated was different from writing to a trend).

So, here’s my answer to the dilemma. I write what I am passionate about. Everytime. That does not mean  I do not consider the market. I do. I angst a lot about it, in fact.

See, A BEAUTIFUL MESS is an angel story – and man-oh-man, there are a lot of angel stories out there right now. So sure, I would be crazy not to wonder if my timing is off. But it has a unique spin, so who knows.

With my current WiP’s – one a YA Urban Fantasy, and one a YA comptemp – I struggle as to which one to work on (they are both very “present” with me). I am considering market trends and length of time to get it ready into the equation. Not sure if I should do that, but I am.

I think writing is 1 part creative endeavor and 1 part business. Therefore, I think we need to please both our hearts (our muse) and the customer (or reader/agent/publisher) we serve.

So, long story short…both. I consider both when writing! After all, neglecting either aspect of this will not, in my opinion, get the desired result – an authentic story that both comes from my heart and meets the demands of a difficult industry.

How about you? What do you do?

For more on this topic, check out Shaun’s amazing post before me, or Cole’s post tomorrow.


21 thoughts on “Blog Chain: Who I write for…

  1. I think both are important to think about. That being said, when I’m actually sitting down and writing, I write what I’m passionate about. I type and the characters dictate.

  2. I definitely think it’s smart to pay attention to market trends. The key is to write what you love, but to make sure it’s still somewhat marketable. We tend to gravitate toward very high concept ideas, but we’re always terrified someone is going to beat us to the punch. We’ve finally learned just to write and let our agent worry about that stuff. It’s a fine line, you know?

  3. Ack, fractions! 😉 1 part creative endeavor 1 part business–so true! And deceptively simple.

    I suppose writing solely for the market, for me, would be risky cuz I’d lose interest if I wasn’t also writing what I love. And: No love=no enthusiasm.

  4. Good formula because after all we do have to look at it from a business standpoint. Since I’m not published yet and have no idea what the market will be 2 or 3 hears from now, I’m writing for myself. I’ve always had the thought, write what I love and go where the characters take me. When it’s done, then see where it fits. Maybe when I have more writing experience and more time and those creative juices are all stewed up, it may spur my imagination to write something that will fit in the market.

  5. I think it’s smart to pay attention to the market but to write what moves you. I have one book on submission and a few more in the works and I discussed with my agent which of my new projects would be best to move forward on.

  6. This post hits close to home! I’m worried about my book that’s about to go out on submission because, while written from my heart, it’s a pretty unique concept. It could go either way for me. On one hand, publishers might rally to the new idea. On the other, they might not be willing to risk publishing a concept with no market track record.

  7. That’s totally awesome about the SCBWI conf. and the conflicting views. But you’re right, there’s a business aspect to writing that we all need to be aware of. Awesome post!

  8. This is a great response. It’s such a fine line, too, because you don’t want your work to be perceived as “just another (insert trend here) story.” But you also have to know what the masses want.

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