‘I don’t write for the masses, I write for myself,’ should never be said by any writer, ever. I suppose when someone says that what they really mean is ‘I won’t sell out and write just for the approval of the public’. But when I heard someone say that recently I began to wonder.
Sure I want to write stories that mean something to me, that make me laugh or cry, that make me think. But couldn’t my stories also do that to a large number of people? Would it be so bad if A LOT of other people found value and/or entertainment in my work?
Isn’t it the dream of every indie author to make a living, a good living, by writing?
Well, that’s not possible if ‘I write for myself’. I want people to be able to relate to my stories. I want other people to read them and go ‘wow, that’s me’ or ‘is that what I’ve been doing’ or ‘shit, I’m not the only one’. And yes, fiction can have that power too.
Reading is what cemented my dream of becoming a writer. I wanted to create worlds where others could get lost and found. I wanted to create connections for people the way some of my favorite authors created them for me.
I can’t do that if I’m so conceited that I think no one else will ‘get’ my work. That the masses are beneath me. After all, I am part of the masses.
Just because something is popular doesn’t make it crap. Sure there are a lot, and I do mean A LOT, of Pop songs that just shouldn’t be played, but hey most of those songs are written for teenagers who don’t know any better anyway. Same with art, but see all of this is subjective.
Writing is the same way. There are some books where I don’t even finish the first chapter, but other people love them. Could be the writing style, could be the genre – I’m not big into romance novels, could be my mood.
But the fact remains if no one else reads my work how can I tell my story? How can I make an impact, no matter how small? How can share the fact that no matter what’s been thrown at me I’m still standing, taller than ever before?
I’m no better or worse than anyone who is ever going to read my work. That’s why ‘not writing for the masses’ makes me cringe. It sounds so conceited and pompous. Just because I’m able to string enough words together to make a novel doesn’t mean I’m any smarter than anyone else or even have anything figured out. It just means writing is something I want to do more than most people.
It is a gift…
So I’m okay if I’m writing for the masses, even if most of them don’t ‘get’ it. But really whose fault is it if no one else ‘gets’ my work?