Writing a novel

Why writers should write for themselves

Writing is a solitary art. It’s the writer who creates and crafts each novel, however, it’s not the writer who will ultimately decide the fate of their novel, it’s the reader. Hence the rule ‘Write for the reader’. Kirsten lamb has a phenomenal post on why giving consumers what they want is so important.

But here are two good reasons why writers should write for themselves first:

  1. Passion
    Passion elevates a story from the mundane and leaps off the page. Readers can tell when a writer is bored while writing a book or a scene – writers cane tell, usually. That scene that should be intense and riveting instead reads like a tugboat towing the Titanic into harbour. And readers will pick that up faster than you can say Bestseller.
  2. Persistence
    It’s important that writers love their story enough to keep going through the train wreck of a first draft, right through to the massive plot rewrites and up to the itty bitty line edits. Writing a book is HARD. And it takes a LONG TIME. (For most of us, anyway. To those other writers: Jog. On.)

Of course, writing only for ourselves would result in very little reward. One person would buy it (if they don’t get an ARC first). It’s important to remember your readers: keep that passion alive, especially for the first draft, which is all you. Then comes the time to think about what your reader wants to see.

Why am I thinking about this now? The genre for my current WIP is on trend right now. Mistake. Writers should aim to set trends, not follow them. By the time this MS is ready to sell, the trend will probably be six feet under (hah, you see what I did there? No you probably didn’t, because by the time you read this, that trend will be long gone). This book, though, is close to my heart. It might not probably won’t sell, but this one was for me.

At least for that all-important first draft, writers need to write for themselves. Create and foster love of the story that will turn it into something special. Then, when that red pen comes out, it’s time to think about your demographic and consider what they want.

Who do you write for – yourself? Your audience? Your dog?

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