I’ve read articles and heard speakers discussing writing to the market. And trust me when I say, what they said made sense. I mean, what’s wrong with checking out best sellers to see what’s hot? Why not see what type of stories are blowing away the competition within your genre?
Where the trouble lay, at least for me, was what I did with that information. I spent almost the entirety of 2016 tailoring my WIP’s to what I thought would sell in the market. Taken in a vacuum, this seems imminently sensible. Construct my projects with the intention of selling and maybe even selling big, that was a damn good plan.
This plan was supported by the notion that I would sell in a hurry (Yes, I’m an arrogant fool sometimes, but that’s another post) and with the proceeds I would work on becoming financially free from the “day job”. I would then be free to pursue writing full time. Not only that, but I would be able to write full time. And better still – I would get to write what I really wanted to write.
* * * Digression: Once, years ago, I was pursuing the discount books at Barnes & Noble. I came across a story that caught my eye. Until that day, I read historical romance. After that day, I became a fan of high fantasy, and I’ve been hooked on the genre ever since * * *
So back to my plan. I was going to write three small contemporary romances, build up a following, make a bit a money (hopefully), then turn my writing to where I really wanted to be, and that was on fantasy. Not altogether a bad plan except for one, rather significant oversight.
Never mind that I don’t’ really have the voice for contemporary romance.
Never mind that I don’t have the mindset or the temperament to write short stories (I was aiming for 40k).
Never mind that I don’t read the genre, and in general don’t care for it.
See, none of that mattered, because I had a plan!
So what was that rather significant oversight? I wasn’t having any fun.
I’m truly blessed with an awesome critique group – the three other ladies that I blog with here. Through gentle nudging, I came to radically reevaluate my goals. That led me back to fantasy, and I’ve been in hog heaven ever since. Or phrased another way: I’m where I’m supposed to be.
Do I regret the year I spent coming to this conclusion? No, I don’t. I learned a lot along the way. About me, about my writing style, and about my writing goals. But lordy I’m having a grand time writing now, and I’m very pleased with the way my current WIP is coming together.
Is my way the right way? For me, yes. For everyone else? That’s for each person to decide for themselves. What did I learn that I found most valuable of all? To thine own self be true. Write what you love, and let the chips fall where they may.
Lorinda Peake wrote her first ditty when she was ten on an English seashore while visiting her British grandmother. From then on, her family either acted in or were treated to plays, skits, or commercial spoofs. In school, she wrote poetry, fables and short stories.
Years later, she tossed down a particularly bad novel and thought, “I could do at least that well.” She’s been pursuing the elusive published novel ever since. Recently, she joined a group of fellow writers who decided to cajole, bully, encourage, and sometimes baby each other along towards the publishing goal by setting real and measurable writing objectives with “motivational” consequences for non-attainment.
Lorinda loves a good romance – all the more if it is wrapped in a great fantasy setting. She lives on the Texas Gulf Coast with her husband of 34 years.