Write for love. (And your readers)
I’ve heard the long standing advice that writers should write for the love of writing, not for the reader. In fact I just stated this during my podcast on digital publishing with Quinn Barrett.
You write for love, you sell for money.
But there is something else to consider. The reader. I want to expand on that just a bit. Initially you started writing for the sheer love of it and somewhere along the way gathered an audience. That audience has heard what you’ve got to say and it resonates with them. They want more. And no matter the size of the audience you now have a responsibility to deliver quality material in a timely manner, be it a blog post, a short story, the next chapter on Wattpad or a full length novel.
You started writing for the love. You keep writing (hopefully still with love and joy for the process) but also with the added responsibility of the audience anticipating your words.
This is not to be confused with writing content for readers. For what is in between the first and last words of whatever you write must be true to the book. (Or blog post or chapter or email) For example, my characters have had to deal with great financial loss, addiction, a miscarriage and sexual abuse. Though I have never experienced a miscarriage I know people who have. I paused at this part of the book and for a moment thought about deleting it all together. I thought about what readers might feel if they had experienced something similar. And, as we all know, everyone’s reaction to the situations listed above is different. Would they be upset because my character didn’t react in the same manner they had? Would it be less believable?
In the end I left the content (and I ALWAYS leave the content) because the book demanded it. While certain scenes or themes cause me to stop and consider the reader, I do not add or delete content based on what I think the reader will like. That would not be true to the book.
It’s the very act of writing that is for your readers.
If you are lacking inspiration, go find some. Readers are waiting.
If you don’t feel like writing because you have a headache, take some Tylenol and sit your butt down. Readers are waiting.
I experience this frequently. I love woodworking and make pioneer style furniture for my home and for my friends. Sometimes the call of the drill is loud and I want nothing more than to go out and create. But I have an obligation to my readers first. So my daily word count is my utmost priority.
So sit down and put your fingers to the keyboard for you readers. When you get up be sure that you have given the very best you have to give. For everything in between, consult the muses and go for it.