Let your Nerd Flag Fly!

In previous posts, I've talked a lot about the process of writing and how to get your work out there. But I haven't talked much about what to write. This is, of course, a personal decision that has many, many factors that go into it, but I thought I'd add my two cents.

I'm going to say something heretical here: ignore the market. Maybe it's because I write for fun, but I personally feel like the worst thing you could do to yourself as a writer is to try and wedge yourself into writing what other people want. You should always write what you want to write. I don't care if emo Italian vampires are the thing right now. If you don't feel passionate about emo Italian vampires, then you shouldn't write about them.

Because writing is about passion. After all, "writer" is Latin for "passionate" (it's not really, but it should be). Sure, you need to make your writing marketable (editors are never a bad idea), but that's not the same thing as "writing to market."

So what do I mean by this? I got into writing because I'm a huge physics nerd and writing sci-fi about possible technologies that could exist and how that would impact society was a fantastic outlet for my repressed inner geek. Yeah, so I had to gussy up my story a bit, add character development and a plot, etc, but at the end of the day, I was writing because I enjoyed the material. In fact, there are tons of real science tid-bits in my books that I know none of my readers caught, but having them in there makes me happy.

Do you absolutely love dragons? Then you should write about dragons. Do you have fascinating ideas involving civil war reenactments where all of the participants are talking cats? Are you crazy? Maybe... But if that's what you think is interesting, then that's what you should write about. Why? Because you're probably the only person who would be able to write a story about talking cats organizing civil war reenactments and make it sound intriguing to your reader. Because passion is infectious and it comes across in your words.

So before you breathe that deep sigh of resignation and reluctantly start on that story about emo Italian vampires, stop, put down your pen (or take you hands off of your keyboard, as the case may be), and don't do it. Because really, what would be the point?