Periodically, the age-old discussion arises among writers regarding whether one should write only what he wants to write or whether one should write what a magazine, book publisher, or client needs. On the one hand, writing purists will say that to write anything other than what one wants to write is to compromise. On the other hand, writing non-purists will say that the job of the writer is to meet a client’s need, regardless of the writer’s desire to write the piece.
I think the truth lies somewhere in between. While we all would love to write only what we want to write, if we plan to make a living from our writing we will often be called upon to write what our client needs. For example, I’ve written things from press releases, to résumés, to bank shareholder letters in order to earn a living from my writing. While I don’t dislike doing this type of writing and, in fact, often find it quite interesting, I much prefer writing fiction and poetry. But fiction and poetry do not yet bring in enough income for me to earn a living from that type of writing alone.
What are your thoughts on this seemingly never-ending writing controversy? Are you a writing purist or non-purist?