Thursday, May 19, 2011

Writers - Do You Do It For You Or Others?

From time to time, I encounter someone who says that writers should be writing for the readers.  I'm sure they mean well when they say this, but I'm thinking that they really haven't thought about that comment much, otherwise they may not post it.

Why would I take issue with this?  Why wouldn't you write what readers want?  I mean, if you do that, then you should be making a lot of money and have whatever you wanted.  Right?  Isn't that the way that things are supposed to work?

Well, yes and no.  I can see the argument that you should write what people want to read, otherwise, well, you might as well take your bat and ball and go home to find something else to do.  But really, I think that is more of a promotional problem rather than a writing problem.  We'll save that for another time...

Writers should be writing what they WANT to write, not what they think others will like, or do like, or will like, or the fad of the month, etc.  Could I be writing vampire stories right now?  Sure, but I wouldn't like it as much as what I'm doing currently.  And because I wouldn't like writing about that subject as much, I wouldn't do nearly as good of a job at it as someone who really enjoys writing about it.

Not only that, but there are subjects that I or others just won't write about.  Lets take erotic stories, for example.  This is a subject that a number of people are making good money at, and the enjoy it.  I say, that's great, more power to them.  But it's not a subject that I care to write in, even if I could make some good money.

Last, but not least, is the fact that writers are readers as well.  It seems like this important fact escapes people from time to time.  And if they are readers, and they like to read what they write, then aren't they already writing what people want to read?  Hmm?

Ultimately, this is a call that each writer needs to make themselves.  But I think that, in the end, you would be much more satisfied with yourself if you wrote what you enjoyed writing, and not what someone else thinks you should write, regardless of the reason.


Diane Fordham said...

I agree. I think writing works well when you write what you are passionate about - because then the words ring true!