Trends come and go, so write what you really want to write

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I posted this on Facebook a few days ago, tapos maraming nag-like. Affected? Haha.

Sige lang, magsulat kahit hindi uso ang kwento. Kahit parang di fit sa trend. Trends come and go.

I've gotten these comments and questions, will lump them all together into one answer:

"How do I know kung tama yung genre ko?"

"Anong best POV?"

"Gusto kong magsulat pero yung gusto ko, hindi uso. Romance yung uso eh."

And here's my experience:

Nung nag-start akong magsulat, teen fic ang sinulat ko. High school ang setting. New girl in school wins beauty pageant. Nung natapos ko yon at pinasa ko sa publisher, ang nakuha kong comment is "Wala pa kasing market for teen fic. Meron ka bang chick lit, for older readers?"

So gumawa ako ng chick lit for twentysomethings, at na-publish naman. So chick lit writer na ako.

Nung na-publish na yung chick lit ko, within one year, ang uso na ay PARANORMAL YA. Vampires, werewolves, zombies. Sabi ko, sige nga, ma-try ito ulit. So sinulat ko yung INTERIM GODDESS OF LOVE trilogy, teen fic yon na may Philippine mythology. It took me two years to finish all three books.

Habang sinusulat ko yung INTERIM GODDESS OF LOVE, nauso ang FIFTY SHADES OF GREY at BARED TO YOU. So, erotica na.

And then as of 2013, nung unang ma-publish ang mga Wattpad novels, aba, TEEN FIC na ulit ang uso sa Pinas. Nakakatawa diba. Lagi akong slightly ahead or behind sa trend LOL. At hindi ko na mapa-publish yung original kong kwento na high school setting, kasi ginamit ko na yung mga scenes there in other stories.

May time na uso ang first person POV, then third person, then second person. I've tried first person POV and third person. I really like third person right now. The kind of story decides what POV is best, and sometimes the trendy POV is not the best. (See Twilight, Hunger Games and eventually Divergent all using first person POV, which ultimately was not the best way to do action.)

Despite being slightly off sa timing sa trend, I'm still writing. I have 10 books out now. I have readers, and I enjoy the support of the reading community not just in the Philippines but in other countries too. Proud ako of all the books I wrote.

The lesson I learned? You will never be able to write fast enough to catch up to trends. Or if you write fast enough, it won't be good. If your goal is to be the "trending topic" of readers, then by all means, magsulat ng uso. If that's the goal, then writing with the trend is the exact way to do it.

But if you want to do this as a career, then wag masyadong ma-praning about trends. The readers who find you when you are not yet "trendy" are the ones who will stay with you for the long term. If you are this kind of writer I can only tell you not to worry -- steady lang. Write what you want to write, what you think will be good for your career. Trends come and go! If you give up too soon, then you won't get the chance to be discovered.

Publishing and Self-publishing: Advice for WritersTahanan ng mga kuwento. Tumuklas ngayon