Saturday, December 7, 2013

Authors: Commercial Writing or Art?

The question comes around eventually...and it never makes any writer feel comfortable.

Let's all be honest.

Writers all want to succeed at writing. It's okay. there ain't nothin' wrong with it...we don't have any hate for you. You should want to succeed.

It's the dream of every red-blooded writer out there. Who wants to be successful in a career that they have dreamed to do? Ummm...EVERYONE!

So the question that always comes around is: should I write for the art or write to gain an audience and make some money? Commercial writing or literary masterpiece without an audience?

I'm the completely wrong guy to ask this question, because I want to be able to write fiction for a career. I want to do this for a living. This position may color the things I want to say to you. Also, I have seen too many of my friends and writing associates accused of being hacks, heavy fingers pointed at them for being writers that have prostituted themselves in order to get a couple of readers. How dare anyone make any money writing!

Of course, just because people say garbage like that doesn't make any of it true.

In the indie world, you can write for you, or you can write for your readers.

I don't know if I have the answer on what is commercial and what is art. I think it's all art...difficult, painstaking, agonizingingly pleasurable art. But still all art. The only idea that I bring to the table is that if you write for yourself, you will do less to alienate yourself while you're writing and will bring out the authentic YOU. And that's the writing everyone will buy your book for anyway.

My book, The List of Five,  is like that. I don't know that it brings anything new or great to the table of literary fiction, but it is full of me, and I enjoyed the writing of it. 

So if you want to get readers, and you want to become one of those "hacks" who writes to make money (Geez) then impress yourself, and don't worry about impressing others.

1 comment:

  1. Jason, this is my kind of topic!! It is a conundrum I have faced for years. Am I writing because I want to be famous? Or am I writing because I want to make a name for myself? I truly think there is a difference. I have found that I actually enjoy writing, and that my ultimate goal in being successful at writing isn't fame and fortune, but rather being REMEMBERED for something. I want to contribute. I want someone, a hundred years from now, to say, "Did you read that piece by Sean P. Farley? It was astounding." Granted, money would always be nice; I certainly wouldn't say no to it. And you have to wonder about an "artsy" writer who claims there isn't even a little narcissism involved. Why? Because anyone who writes for "the joy" of it but, at the same time, is sending their work to dozens of publications in the hopes of being put into print…? Well, they're looking to make a buck like the rest of us.