Inspired by my friend Janet M. Carter's post, I thought I would talk a bit about how my perception of writing has changed over time.
Finding your niche as a writer can be hard. There are so many pressures out there to conform. Follow the latest trends. Write what is popular. Who doesn't want to be published?
With all these temptations pressing on you, it can be easy to lose your way and just write whatever you think will make people happy. Now, there's nothing wrong with writing for money. There's nothing wrong with writing popular themes or in popular genres. If you love it and your heart is in it, why not? Or hey, maybe you can write something you're not passionate about, and it's still amazing. There are writers who can do that.
I'm not one of them.
I find it problematic when you write without passion, and that's exactly what I've tried to do in the past.
I'd find a call to submissions and think, hey I can write that! Not surprisingly, I would fail miserably.
Sometimes a call or a trend fits what I'm passionate about. What a great motivator! But more often than not, they aren't compatible. Instead of chasing trends, I should be writing what I'm passionate about. It's wasted time. Or maybe a stalling technique?
The past few months I have been focusing once again on my own style, my own passions, and you know what? I'm having so much more fun with my writing. My contemporary/urban fantasy novel rewrite is coming together better than I had hoped, and all I needed to do was to write to my passions. (And to learn to let go which is a whole different conversation for a different time.)
I know what I love. I love ghosts, monsters, demons, and angels. I love humor and drama wrapped up together. I know old cities and country, myth and history, folklore and urban legends.
I know I want to tell stories of people searching for who they are, who love each other, whether they are lovers or family or friends.
It comes back to that old adage: Don't write what you know. Write what you LOVE.