Do You Write to a Market or Write and Then Market?

idea or marketWhenever you hear someone say that there are two types of writers, you usually think plotters and pantsers — those who outline first vs those who see where the writing takes them.  But there is another writing dichotomy to consider — those writers who write a piece to submit to a specific market vs. those who write something and then look for a market.  Which one are you?

I don’t fit cleanly into one category or another.  Sometimes, I write a manuscript with a particular market in mind.  This can happen when I’ve been reviewing market listings and theme lists and something sparks my imagination.  Other times it is a market/editor that I regularly work with and they’ve put out a call so I work up ideas tailored to them and that they want.

Other times I write a story or article because I really, really want to write that particular piece.  I have an idea and it simply won’t leave me alone.  Somewhere in the writing process, I then have to find one or more possible markets.

Which is easier?  For me, probably the first simply because most of the work that I sell has been written with a particular market in mind.  If that market doesn’t take it or I don’t write something for one specific market, I have a much harder time getting it out the door.  Marketing apparently is not my favorite thing.  I’m also more inclined to spend my writing time working on a project for which I have a ready market.

So do you do one or the other or both?

–SueBE

4 thoughts on “Do You Write to a Market or Write and Then Market?

  1. I think I do both with magazine articles. A story idea strikes. Before I write, I find the best initial match for the story and then write to the market. When the magazine is themed I 100% write to the market, but again draw upon my interests. I just don’t have time to do it any other way. Now, with picture books, it’s a whole different story. I only write something I’m passionate about.

  2. I do both. Sometimes it’s like you said…”I get an idea that just won’t leave me alone.” When I’m between projects, I will search for upcoming contests or review market listings.

    Thanks Sue for the post.

  3. Angela,
    You’re welcome! I have to admit that I don’t do much with contests but that is something I should look at again. Thank you for the nudge.
    –SueBE

  4. When I write for hire I do what they tell me to do, but when I initiate a project myself I always write and then market. The incentive for me when I write for hire is money and when I don’t it’s love – I have to be enthusiastic about a spec project or I’d never do it. It’s how I get “paid,” — at least, initially.

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