Two Kinds of Writers

Business card slid under my hotel room door in Osaka Japan

I see two kinds of writers at the writing groups I attend.

First and most common are the ones doing personal therapy. (Please note: I don’t intend any disrespect; I’ve been there and done that myself.) The goals of these writers include the revelation of daemons, learning where they came from and how to temper their often negative contributions to one’s character, and–to the writer’s end–finding rich fertilizer to pile on future plantings.

The second faction are the money-and-fame writers. They are chasing readers, not inner monsters. Their focus is on what will sell, and they ask, “What will grab and hold the reader?” What they know of themselves powers the “write what you know” dictate.

I will venture to guess that every one of the #2s were #1s previously, and that many of them alternate between inner delving to understand the forces within their psyche, and then incorporating those lessons in commercial fiction that will sell.

My only suggestion to the #1s is, until you understand that you’re a prostitute with something to sell and that you need to suggest what your John’s lust for, until you get that, save your navel contemplations because that’s where they have value, albeit not a monetary one.

The ghouls and devils within you will intrigue readers who will pay money and put you on a pedestal, but there’s story, and character, and plot, and a bunch of other things to craft into the work.

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