I’ve been working on novel writing for a while now. I know I am far from the only person out there who has a story to tell, and we all think there is something about our story that makes it different. It doesn’t matter if technically I know there is likely something else out there that would be considered similar, I know mine if special.
The best part of my writing life currently is the more I write, the more I find I have new ideas to write. The truth is, I seem to be on a creative high right now. Not necessarily completing everything I have in concept, but the ideas are flowing. I’ve worked on documenting these ideas, and writing them all out in some sort of outline for later.
The trouble I have, is choosing what projects to pursue. Statistically, I know there will be a certain percentage that are just bad ideas. The idea might make a good sound bite, but that’s all it is. Other ideas turn out to just not have legs. I get started, and nothing seems to work, and the stupid story just sits there irritating me and wasting my time.
My favorite portion of these ideas might turn out to be REALLY good, but they would be a hard sell for one reason or another. These are the passion projects, ones I feel strongly about, ones that come from deep in my heart. Finding someone else to match that passion would be difficult to say the least.
Then of course, there is the last bit of projects. These are the ideas I like well enough, and I honestly think have commercial potential. They might actually fall into one of the earlier categories, and turn out to be horrible, but in concept, I can see the audience. I can imagine who would read them, and possibly even who would sign onto the idea.
Naturally, there is a part of me who instantly feels I should pursue the stories that might sell. After all, selling books is what will allow me the freedom to keep writing. If I have a little commercial success, even very minor success, there goes the need for a day job.
After that thought, I instantly feel bad. I don’t want to write just for money. I want to have the creative freedom to pursue the projects that I want. Writing isn’t and shouldn’t be all about the money, there should be a large element of creation simply for the sake of creation. If I am fueled by nothing more than money, my work will suffer.
Of course, one can’t live off of passion and creativity alone. There are bills to pay and mouths to feed. If writing doesn’t make me money, I won’t have the time to work on the passion projects.
But if I am not working on something I am passionate about it will show in my work. Agents and publishers need to believe in the strength of the story. If I don’t, they won’t.
You can see how I go back and forth, right?
So how do you choose? If you choose to work on something that will have commercial potential, knowing it will be easier to sell, are you selling out or being practical? If I turn away from the projects I am passionate about, even for a while, am I making a wise career decision, by writing something others will buy, or am I putting myself on the shelf for purchase?
Can you be practical, and still passionate about what you do, or is all money related considerations a betrayal of the creativity that drives me to write to begin with?