A popular topic among writers is whether you should write about what you like or what’s popular? In every case my answer is always write about what you like, but I do understand the debate. To be fair to all my distinguished colleagues, I think we should look at both sides of the argument.
You want to become a successful writer so you figure that you should write about what is working right now. Not to mention that you’ve heard about the massive publishing deals given to authors like Stephenie Meyer or Dan Brown. All those dollar signs would make any struggling writer start to ponder ideas about sparkly vampires and the mysteries of the bible. Okay, well let’s just hypothetically say that you write something that’s based on what’s selling right now. We’ll assume that it takes you a year before you’re happy with the product. Now it’s only a matter of time before you hit the bestsellers list, right? The problem with that plan is the amount of time in between you writing the novel and you actually getting published. Most literary agents will tell you that it takes roughly eighteen months to actually get from their desk to the bookshelves. I’ve even read recently that it can take up to two years. My point is that anything can change in three years. What’s popular today may be completely out of style by 2013.
That’s why your writing should always come from a place of passion. Write what inspires you regardless of popular opinion. I guarantee that your writing will be better because you care about the story. I’ve only ever written fantasy because that’s what I like. I grew up watching fantasy movies and television shows. I’ve even collected comic books with my little brother. If you could see my bookshelf, then you’d know it’s filled with adult and YA fantasy novels. My point is that if you’re enthusiastic about the Civil War era and you want to write a historical romance about a union officer and a confederate nurse then you absolutely should. If you know everything there is to know about extraterrestrials and you want to write a dystopian novel about the world after an alien invasion then go for it! Why? Because you’re already invested. You’ve done the research, and on some level, you’re an expert. Going with what you know and love will always beat out what’s popular. Your novel could end up starting a trend like Twilight or the Da Vinci Code. No one has the ability to predict what’s going to be popular in three years so why not write what you love?
Passion Art Print by Paula Scaletta