It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the responsibilities necessary to maintain a successful career. Between blogs, websites, appearances, conventions, networking, editing, and all the other things that go into getting the best book you have to offer in front of as many people as possible, one might wonder when we find the time to actually… write. Oddly enough, there’s more time for that than you might think. It’s amazing how many words can be committed to pixel in as little as an hour a day.
But in the midst of keeping up with all the other stuff, we must never forget our primary responsibility. What is that you say? Our responsibility to our publisher? That’s important, but nope. Our responsibility to our fans? Not quite, but we’re getting warmer. No, I’m referring to our responsibility to ourselves, to write what makes us happy.
As much as we love, need and hope to have more of them, readers may come and go. You’re only as good as your latest book after all. Have you ever stopped reading books by a certain author after being subjected to a particularly horrible offering?
It’s horrible to think about, but the sad truth is that even finding a great publisher doesn’t necessarily guarantee you a long and happy writing career. True it’s not a daily occurrence, but there have been several publishers who seemed to be doing well enough, suddenly up and shut their doors. The first book I ever had accepted fell victim to this very scenario. It was eventually picked up by one of my current publisher’s but it was still quite heart-breaking at the time.
At the end of the day, the only aspects of writing career that really matter our will to write and to what level of ability we do so. It only makes since that we should write what moves us, not what moves the market. You’re going to be spending a lot of time with your great opus, you’d better be happy, no damned well overjoyed with your characters and your story. By the time you get through the editing process and well into pushing your book, you will be more familiar with the thing than you ever thought possible.
So an author’s responsibility is to themselves, their vision and the written word.