Oh, my goodness. I wondered if I should even broach this on the blog today. So much has been said about writers writing to trends versus writers writing the stories of their hearts, it seems a little redundant to add to the chatter.
But you know me. I thought another perspective might be fun.
So here we go. Let’s dive in!
About six years ago when I jumped onto the writing path again, the publishing arena was somewhat different than today. It was a kinder, gentler time.
Though gears were beginning to shift, options still existed.
If authors persevered, honed their craft, and wrote a great story, the future seemed bright.
Trends came. Trends went.
Some stuck. Many didn’t.
Years meandered by.
A light breeze stirred. Winds of change blew in.
Bigger entities gobbled up smaller markets (not necessarily a bad thing, but a precursor of some not-so-good things to come).
Numbers, dollars, market demand, and return on investment defined which divisions would last and which would go.
Inspirational (fiction) markets within the CBA narrowed.
Writers/authors breathed a collective, wobbly sigh of hope. But…just barely.
The elephant in the room morphed into something bigger and became common fodder on writing loops. Should writers write the stories of their hearts or should they write to trends?
Did it even matter?
With the economy and publishing landscape in a huge state of flux, did it really matter if we wrote Fifty Shades of Polka Dots or As the Pulpit Turns?
Hmm. Trend versus heart?
All bets were off.
Of course, experts weighed in with advice and predictions.
Winds of change blew harder.
Some writers chose different avenues (indie publishing, hybrid publishing, etc.), while others hunkered down for the longer (traditional) route.
Now, I’m not debating others’ choices, as we’re all different. I’m simply one of the writers who’d prefer the traditional path (at least, initially).
Still, bearing in mind change and industry upheaval, I think forward-thinking writers must adapt.
Trends are worth considering because—let’s face it—popular themes sell.
BUT for a time.
Eventually, trends wither. Play out. Sometimes, they die completely.
And if we write in a vein that isn’t ours—while forfeiting our heart and soul in the process and by way of a story that isn’t us—is that really writing?
Not in my mind.
Let’s revisit that word, though. Adapt.
Adapting means opening our minds. It doesn’t have to be a bad thing.
Adapting means smart writers assess their work and think beyond their comfort zones.
Adapting means writing the stories of our hearts while ditching self-imposed boxes.
Adapting means adding a new skill set, enhancing our product, and broadening our brand.
I’ll boil it down a little more personally.
I write Heartfelt, Homespun Fiction.
I have a heart for inspirational fiction, but more than that?
I have the heart to write stories with diverse characters, dilemmas, and real-life scenarios that touch others for (and with the love of) Christ.
What does that mean exactly?
That word. Adapt.
Writing the stories of my heart may take me beyond my comfort zone.
Writing the stories of my heart may cause me to think in new and creative ways.
Writing the stories of my heart may mean traveling beyond CBA’s borders into the secular realm.
As Christian fiction lines continue to wither or close entirely, to write the heartfelt, homespun stories of my heart, I must look realistically at other available avenues.
And I’ve said this before—
Heartfelt, Homespun Fiction, doesn’t mean I pen sugar-and-spice-and-everything-nice tales filled with hollow-souled characters who always eat their Wheaties for breakfast.
I find those types of people boring in real life. Why would I create characters like those in my fictional worlds?
When we read our “hearth and home” novels, we still want meat and potato stories with real people AND problems. Just like us. We also want to see those problems not necessarily wrapped and tied with a bow by THE END, but with the possibility of a brighter outcome.
I write stories that delve into the nitty-gritty upset of life, yet stories that uplift, encourage, and foster the belief that “anything is possible.” In fact, when God’s thrown into the equation, not only is anything possible—it’s spine-tingling probable something BIG will happen!
Again, to recap…
Why I love Heartfelt, Homespun Fiction:
- It makes us feel good.
- The characters are imperfect with problems like ours.
- They may be down, but they’re not out.
- Because of Christ, possibility outweighs probability.
- Meat and potatoes taste best with dessert!
So…this writer, for one, will continue to write the stories of her heart. Perhaps, in a broader light through a bigger lens.
Playing to trends or writing the stories of our hearts. Which is best?
Sometimes, honoring our calling means stepping beyond our comfort zone. One writer’s perspective.
As the publishing landscape changes, writers must choose. Thoughts to consider.
ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS YOU MAY ENJOY
Blending fact with fiction. How fictional worlds influence a story’s effectiveness.
Finding stories in the ordinary and unexpected
Four quick pick-me-ups to supercharge your day!
What changes do you foresee in publishing?
Anything you like/don’t like about today’s publishing dynamic?
As a reader, what genres interest you most?
Thanks for stopping by!
Always delighted to have you join us ~