Monday, August 8, 2016

Follow Your Heart

On your writing journey you're likely to hear people say, "Write what you love."

But why is that important?

It can be tempting to follow trends when you see a certain genre or trope flying off the shelves, especially if you've been querying for years with little success.

I write mostly urban fantasy, so I understand. The genre is a VERY tough sell right now.

It can be tempting to look at what's "hot" and jump on that bandwagon. But one important thing to remember is, publishing is slow. It can take over a year to find an agent, then another year or more to sell the manuscript. By the time you make it through the process, whatever trend you chased has likely passed and five more have come and gone.

One of the most important reasons to write what you love is because you're going to have to read your manuscript a million times. Okay, maybe not a million, but it will feel like it. If you don't love it, it's easy to abandon it. If you don't want to spend hours with your story or characters, why would a reader?

I adore my characters. I love my stories. Even with all the love I have for them, I have been tempted to set fire to my manuscript many times because I was so sick of reading it. After a break, I'd pick up the manuscript again and remember why I loved the characters and story in the first place. If you don't have that passion for your work, you're not likely to finish it.

The love you have for your work shines through. If you write something you only like, or even really like, it won't read as well as something you are passionate about. It's sort of like what's said about good cooking, it's that way because you can taste the love that went into it.

Sometimes you'll be tempted to give up. But hang in there. Write what you love and try to make it as unique as possible to stand out. Hopefully, it will find a home with someone who loves it as much as you do.

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