I have been writing for quite a few years now but I’m still new to this idea of making a go of it professionally. Naturally, I tend to scour the internet in search of all the advice that I can get my hands on. I’ve read everything from the big spills about how to build your email list to the simplest and basest of things such as to write what you know. Both avenues can be considered correct and with advice there is no wrong answer, but neither are they universal -with the possible exception of something such as “you can’t write if you don’t make the time to sit down and write.” However, there is bad advice. Even if not necessarily wrong, it is bad -at least in my opinion. The thing about bad advice is that it is just as plentiful as the good, and it doesn’t sound bad either.
The string of words that got me started on this rant was located while sleuthing through some online forums seeking the input of other indie writers that I could realistically apply to my own journey. Instead, I found -based on the phrasing and general tone of the message- a bitter bunch of spittle typed out by someone who was soured due to their own lack of success.
The advice that they gave was, in short, to write what was selling and not bother with pouring out what was inside of you otherwise you would not be successful. Now, from a business standpoint this might not look to be bad advice, but we are dealing with an art form. And, while this could be a successful tactic, it cheapens the art, brings down the whole idea of writing, in the end costing both the readers and writers. If someone has a passion that happens to fall in the subject that is selling, then great, there is a better chance that we can all benefit from a great book. But forcing it, jamming yourself into something that you don’t necessarily care about, will be painful to the writer and often painful for the reader as well. There are some writers that can pull this off, great writers that could be successful in any subject, but this advice was directed to the profession as a whole and, as we have all seen from Hollywood, this formula doesn’t produce the best products.
In closing, I hope that anyone who may stumble on this thread will realize that it is better to focus where you would actually like to focus, write what you know -which should be an ever-expanding realm, we can always know more so this idea is actually unlimited- but most importantly write what you are passionate about.