Ever since my son could hold a pencil, he has been drawing and now at age thirteen, I continue to watch him. He has managed to draw some difficult things over the years, including Transformers and his latest faze is the people from Halo, but what is remarkable is that he can do it all in pen. He can come up with ideas for his own drawings, or happily copy the work of others, sometimes spending hours on them. With our encouragement (which makes all the difference), my son continues to do what he enjoys doing, drawing whatever pleases him. I’ve come to the belief that it should be the same when it comes to my own writing.
As writers aiming for publication, we can sometimes get caught up with the latest fads in what is being published. After the publication of the Harry Potter series, there was an increase in fantasy novels; the Twilight series saw an increase in paranormal books for young adults. Jumping on a fad is no guarantee of publication as it takes years before seeing the final product. I remember reading a book which stated that you shouldn’t write what you want to write, write what a publisher wants to publish. While I understand the logic behind this (and this may work best for non-fiction writers), I think fiction writers need to express their creativity in exploring what works for them. Restricting this creativity can make the writing feel forced, therefore becoming a chore, stalling the creativity and leaving the writer to no longer enjoy what they are doing. I think this quote sums it up best:-
“In truth, I never consider the audience for whom I’m writing. I just write what I want to write.” — J.K. Rowling
If this can work for one of the richest women in the world, then what’s to stop the rest of us poor inspiring writers? She had an idea for a story that she believed in and she went with it. Despite all the rejections she received, she finally found a publisher that loved her idea. Isn’t this what being a creative writer is all about?
So I will take a lesson from my son (shh, don’t tell him) and embrace my inner child. I’m remembering what it was like to be that ten year old girl who enjoyed making up stories and got such a kick out of it that she wanted to make a living from it. Now is the right time to enjoy writing what you like, when you like, without feeling the pressure from publishers.
Are you embracing your inner child?