Any writer faces a fundamental choice – should you write what people are already buying, what the market knows and understands? Or should you write what inspires you, tell a story that grips you and which comes from deep within, ignoring all trends and even reader expectations?
In one camp, many writers (and editors, publishers, agents etc) insist that a pro writes for the market and that means writing in a genre, meeting the expectations (with a twist, of course) – but always understanding who your readers will be and why they buy books. Give them what they want.
In the other camp, many say that is a road to failure – because your work will never resonate with authenticity unless you ignore all the demands of the market and instead write the story from deep inside, the story that must get out, the one that springs from your subconscious demanding to be told, no matter what.
There are confident, convincing arguments on both sides. And a lot of ink has been spilled debating the subject.
My advice is simple, and can be applied to almost any endeavour or circumstance: when presented with two extremes, walk a middle path.
Photo: 'Path?' by greenzowie via Flickr and Creative Commons