From the Writers' Board: Publication Chances

From the Writers' Board: Publication Chances


These are two posts taken from the Forward Motion Writers' Board.  
Forward Motion member Mallika posted:

Does it hurt your writing and your chances to be published...
April 8 2001 at 12:46 PM

...if you write something that doesn't really fit any market at all, just because you would love to write it and because it feels like so much fun?

I read an article that said that the author's friend frittered away her writing years by doing school plays and writing witty letters instead of focusing on her writing and writing something that could be marketed. He said that this friend had lamented that the time she spent doing up all the school plays/letters/etc (although she enjoyed it) would have been better spent seriously writing stuff, and he agreed whole-heartedly. He said something to the effect of, "In your lean years, when you don't have much time for writing, don't fritter them away by doing something foolish like this. You should use them well, and use them to train yourself."

Would writing something for myself, for fun--something that probably wouldn't be really published, as it doesn't exactly have a strong plot, etc--be hurting my writing and my "chances"? I am so confused. I mean, I would love to write this story and I would probably do so but ... would that be "frittering" away my time unwisely? Hrrrrr... I trust you guys' judgment more than his.  

(Snipping description of story.)

Holly's reply:

April 8 2001 at 2:19 PM

First, your idea sounds marketable as hell to me. There's a huge fantasy/romance crossover market right now.

Second, you have to write what you want to write. If the woman writing funny letters and school plays didn't want to write them, and actually wanted to be writing novels, then, yeah, she was an idiot for spending all her time doing something she didn't want to do. But if she was doing what she wanted to be doing at the time, the fact that she wishes later she'd become a famous novelist is utterly pointless.

Shit, I wish I were a famous ballerina, but I frittered away my childhood riding horses and hiking in the hills and traveling to weird and foreign climes, and never put the time into dance that would surely have made me a prima ballerina for the New York Ballet Company if I'd just stuck to it.

(Yes, I'm being ridiculous. But that's the point. So was she. If she'd wanted to write novels, she would have written novels.)

And as for the subject of what you write, to a point you create your own market. Write what you're hungry for, then go out and sell it.