Following the Muse and not the Market

September is coming to a close and I have not done anywhere near as much work as I had hoped. My recent surgery and the many complications that have arisen as a result of it certainly have not helped. However, I do not feel like having another moan.

 Although I have been somewhat discomfited by my situation I find that I am still thinking about writing and that is a good thing. I am still working on my fantasy novel, The Queen of the Mountain. Actually, that is just a work in progress title as I am not convinced that it suggests all that I want it to, but then nothing else has occurred to me on that subject yet so it might end up being the final choice. When I have managed to get to work with the manuscript I have thoroughly enjoyed it and that really is the point; I see no reason for sitting at a keyboard for such a protracted amount of time if I do not enjoy both the work and the end result.

 Enjoyment is a key motivator. I enjoy what I do. It does not pay me enough and I probably will never become rich and famous doing it but it is my hobby. Writing is what I do to relax, the fact that I have something tangible at the end of it is just a massive bonus. It is also why I am not a genre writer. I mention this because someone imparted some advice to me recently, well, basically they said that I would never be a successful writer because I lack the self-discipline to restrict myself to one particular genre. They may be right. I would love to earn enough money so that I could afford to write full time. I am not sure though that I lack discipline. When it comes to writing I seem to be rather good at sitting down and doing the actual work. I can sit for hours and just write. I think that my critic was referring to the fact that I have written three historical fiction novels, one alternate history novel, a technological thriller, and that I am writing a fantasy novel and a crime mystery novel as well. Oh, and I have a great idea for a science fiction book as well!

 There is no doubt about it, my muse lacks self-discipline but so what! For me the story is the most important thing. I mean, that is what I am creating is it not? I want to write a good story so should it matter if that story takes place in a historical or a fantasy or a contemporary setting? If I write a story that a reader enjoys then that is for me the most important thing. I understand that in marketing terms this creates a headache. I have mentioned before that I did not start writing so as to get into marketing but it seems to be a necessary evil for people like me who publish books through Amazon and the like. Curiously, I have not found promoting my varied work that difficult. In fact I recently had some success promoting my self as an author who is not constrained by the label ‘genre’.

 I do not mean this to be some egotistical self-aggrandizement. I do not believe that this makes me better than someone who does stick to a single genre. What it does mean is that I am being true to a simple precept; do what you enjoy. I enjoy reading all kinds of books. I read classics, historical, crime, science fiction, fantasy, horror, anything that grabs my attention and fires my imagination. If I do that as a reader why should I not do it as a writer? I cannot find a good answer to that question.

 I plan to continue to put the story first and the marketplace second. I will write what I want to write free of any artificially imposed constraints. Readers seem to like my books so I must be doing something right. As long as I enjoy writing them then I am going to continue following my muse no matter where that might take me.

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About petercwhitaker

I am an author and lover of life!
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