Dialogues: Lynda Williams and a guest author tackle the same topic from two points of view.
Topic: Write What You Love - Part 1
1) What does 'Write what you love' mean to you, as an author?
Nathalie: The minute I decided to write I knew from the get go I was only going to write what I loved. And for me that means genre. Fantasy, sci-fi, mystery and horror, I love them all. I doubt I would be happy writing straight mainstream novels. I’m not even sure I could. My projects need to have some supernatural elements for me to be excited about them. Otherwise, I’m bored.
Lynda: If I can’t write what matters to me, it’s barren slogging. That’s how I interpret “write what you love”. In the beginning, I wrote to swell my chest with feelings and while I still love that, I now find a subtler satisfaction in “nailing” something. By which I mean capturing a truth or perception that’s been nagging at me. But I’m less likely to re-read the pieces that are solely intellectually satisfying.
2) Is writing what you love compatible with success?
Nathalie: Of course, authors can have success writing what they love. I always believe that you could have your cake and eat it too. The success of writers like J. K. Rowling, Stephenie Meyer and Naomi Novik proves it. I’m sure these women were writing what they love. I don’t believe they sold out because they were successful. Same as I don’t believe that writing without passion solely for the market is a guarantee of success. Many of those stories get rejected too. And bear in mind that you don’t need to sell a million copies to be a success either. Getting published is success in itself. That’s my opinion anyway.
Lynda: Confession time. I used to be sour about the success of books I thought inferior to my favorites. What wisdom has come with age helps me hold the image of a teeter-totter in my mind. On one end sits self-sufficient introspection. This player might be labeled “quality” or “self-indulgence” depending on circumstances. On the other end sits public-facing engagement. This player might have benign or nasty labels as well. We all have to find our sweet-spot for balancing the two.