Writing Tips

Follow the Crowd or Forge your own Path?

These days, most people would say there is absolutely nothing new in the world of literature, and while that may be true in certain respects, that doesn’t mean you have to fall in with the crowd. Every few years or so, a new fad becomes popular in literature. Especially in Young Adult fiction, different topics become popular for a while and it seems like everyone just jumps on the bandwagon. First it was wizards (thank you, Harry Potter), and then it was vampires (no thank you, Twilight), and werewolves, etc. These days, Dystopian is in, largely due to the Hunger Games. This is the point where you as an author have to decide what kind of writer you are.

As I see it, there are two types. 1) The authors who write what they want to write when they want to write it, and 2) the authors who write whatever is popular in the hopes of making money. Not everyone falls into a category, and some people just happen to like writing the current popular genre. They’ve just gotten lucky that it is popular.

This begs the question: should you follow the crowd or should you go your own way?

For the most part, I’m in the ‘go your own way’ group, but that can present certain problems. Obviously no author wants to be thought of as cliché or following the crowd, but success is a fickle and confusing thing in writing. Sometimes it feels like you’re on a life raft out on your own, surrounded by stories about vampires and love triangles and things you can’t or don’t want to write. You see these stories getting publishing deals and you start to feel jealous and annoyed, but is it better to jump your own ship for someone else’s? Have I taken this metaphor too far?

The point is that writing can be a lonely thing, especially if you stick to your own ideals and your own way of doing things. People may tell you it won’t work. They may ask why you don’t write a popular story, but the thing is that it’s your writing, and you’re writing what you want. Don’t let others influence you.

It might feel like you’re being overlooked, but trends change daily, and someday, your style or stories may become popular. You might even be the one to make it happen, so keep pushing along. You’ll get your shot.

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2 thoughts on “Follow the Crowd or Forge your own Path?

  1. Writing what you want is hard enough. It would seem a mistake to make it any harder but writing what you don’t want to write. The job of a writer is to write. The job of an author is to sell books. Neither should hit the hand of the other. In fact, the two jobs should flow into one another. It is unfortunate, though, that a should-happen never equals a will-happen. Nice post! Cool blog.

    1. Yes, unfortunately, the world of publishing is a very fickle place and what you like may not be popular. Sacrifices may have to be made. Or you can stick it to’em and write what you want ;]

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