In several writing groups I follow I see writers of all levels pinging the group asking whether a given concept would be worth writing. I think the basic advice is obvious – sit your ass down and write something, then worry about marketing it. The more I see this question come up the more I think there’s a deeper issue here, and that’s in whether it’s worth writing something that may not wind up being popular.
Get Used To The Demons of Self-Doubt
So many creative people I know – even the really talented ones I really admire – have insecurities deep down inside. They wonder whether their work is good enough for people to want to read. If this is you, congratulations, you’re perfectly normal.
I wrote about the self-doubt journey back in You Are Not Crap. I’ll reiterate my point here – the only way to quiet these nagging voices is to write, expose yourself to feedback, and push yourself every time. The more you put yourself out there, the more comfortable you’ll get.
You won’t ever be free of self-doubt, and it’s probably not a bad thing. This business can be harsh, and it can hurt to get bad feedback. Being aware of the fact that failure is an option will keep you working hard.
As I’m writing this there are 7.5 billion people on the planet. I’ve seen estimates about half the population has internet access, so we’re talking a potential audience of 3.5 billion people. Think about that for a moment.
With all these people, there are a wide range of tastes. You could probably with enough work make an audience out of almost anything. How many “bad” movies have you watched that somehow manage to find people to buy them? Sure, some of that’s unintentional – but there are people who make “bad” movies because that’s what their target audience wants. Think about that, too. These people intentionally make something many of us would turn our noses up at like a fart in a compact car, and their followers buy them. Maybe it’s for a laugh; maybe they think it’s good; maybe it’s a guilty pleasure and an escape from everyday suckage. I’ve even heard of people using a one-star review to inspire curiosity, getting people to check if it’s really as bad as the reviews say.
I’m not giving you permission to half-ass. If you step back and look carefully at it, these “bad” movies probably have some kind of pattern to them that people like. It takes a lot of work to plan and execute on something like this, even if most people find it “bad.”
Enter The Niche
So that brings us to the core of this post, beyond genre, even more specific than genre. If you drill deep enough you find the niche, a highly targeted audience who seeks out content like yours. There are constantly new followers rising seeking a neverending stream of new content. These communities may be small, but they’re out there. If you do your homework and think carefully about who your target audience is, you’ll find them.
It Takes Consistent Work
Time for the parting advice – remember, and I’m going to keep reminding you of this fact – creativity is a lot of work and nothing is guaranteed. You need to consistently work hard, push yourself, and explore. Building an audience takes time, and nothing can change that.
Good luck. Please leave your successes and hard lessons in the comment section.