I was in the midst of a phone chat with an author friend the other day when she asked me a question that threw me for six: what do you most like to write?
“If you could only write one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?” she continued.
It’s a big question for someone who likes to write ‘all of the things’. What I like most to write changes daily, depending on what I’m writing at the time…
But it’s also a big question, an important question for every writer. When people ask me what they ‘should’ write to get published, I get worried. Why? Because if you’re chasing a market, it means you’re not necessarily writing the book you’re meant to write. Chasing a market is also a fool’s game because if you are currently writing Dystopian YA because that seems to be what’s selling, by the time you get your manuscript written and edited and sent out and read, the market will have moved on.
You have to set trends, not follow them, which is easier said than done. The only way you’re ever going to do it in any meaningful way is to write what you most like to write, and do it well. Do it your way.
I think I’ve found my niche in children’s fiction. All of the new ideas I have at present are for kids’ books of some form or another. It doesn’t mean that I’m not writing other things, just that I understand that my best chance of remaining a published author right now lies right where I am, writing exciting stories that kids love to read – and that I love to write.
Are you new here? Welcome to my blog! I’m Allison Tait, aka A.L. Tait, and I’m the author of two epic middle-grade adventure series, The Mapmaker Chronicles and The Ateban Cipher.
You can find out more about me here, and more about my books here.
I prefer children’s fiction too, preferably with an element of humour. When I try to write for adults, I can’t take myself seriously.
Ha! Love it!
I have been mulling over this question (or a version of it) for the past few weeks as I enter into the final stages of my first draft novel. The work has been a long time coming (too long in fact) and it has left me feeling like I do not want to tackle another historical fiction as my next project. Just sticking with long form writing / novel writing, I think one of the ways to answer the question “What do I most want to write” could be answered by reference to what do I most like to read? At the moment I’m reading a lot of spy / thriller type novels, partly because I enjoy the genre and as a way of preparing the groundwork for my I think will be my next novel – series project.
Agree that you can’t chase the market, therein lies heartache.
I’m guessing, but I imagine that any writer who has been practicing their craft for any length of time has probably been able to find their niche after a few false, but necessary starts. Or to quote Andre Gide, “A direct path merely takes you to your destination.”
So true Richard. And you learn something new at every step of the journey! Best of luck with your draft.
I like to write little things about fictional people. If I could write a whole book that was just snippets of people doing not much, I would be very happy.
I think I would be happy to read such a thing from you. 🙂