Writing Process: (Don’t) Follow the trends

If there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.
– Toni Morrison

I promise this won’t happen to other genres. (Credit: Kiss Them Goodbye)

While publisher-author contracts may be pulling toward a certain genre at the moment, that doesn’t mean your other favorite genres have died and disappeared from The Other Side, a la Vampire Diaries style. Trend alerts exist for writers to be cognizant of what readers want, not what writers should feel pressured to produce.

There’s so much pressure nowadays on writing for the market. Gone are the golden days of unsolicited manuscripts read by major publishing houses. Sayonara to the times when a writer wasn’t bombarded by constant(ly changing) information about what stories editors and readers want. Publishing has become so competitive that writers everywhere are left scratching their heads for how to get noticed  by the market Powers That Be.

One solution may seem to follow the trend.

It’s important to pay attention to the trends – if the trends are what already interests you as a writer. No one should ever feel pressured to write for a new trend, just in hopes of getting published or achieving fame. Why? Because it’s not the genre you want to write. Write the genre that captures your attention and never lets go; don’t stare at an empty screen and think, “Okay, now how do I write a second Battle Royale with a slapstick comedy slant featuring senior citizens? That’s the genre that’s selling right now. I’ve got to write that story!” Life’s too short to write a genre which stresses you out more than it inspires you.

If a New Adult story has been bouncing around in your head for weeks and you read an article in Writer’s Digest about how that’s the new hot market, by all means take advantage of the current demand for New Adult. It’s your time to shine. But if you’re more interested in the thought process of a 14-year-old stressing about a pimple or a middle-aged adult fighting the harrowing throes of menopause, there’s no reason you should feel pressure to follow the trend.

It’s important to challenge yourself as a writer; but it’s more important to write the story you want to read. If you’re not passionate about the latest trendy genre, don’t write it. Your best work will come from writing the story which most interests you, not what you think someone else will find interesting.

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