Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Don’t Write For The Market - Guest Post by J.D. Estrada

I'm excited to share a new guest post by the very talented J.D. Estrada. Communications specialist, Public Relations strategist, creative copywriter, translator, brand strategist.... these are all terms used to describe J.D. Estrada in his day job setting. The fact is that these are all masks he has worn at some time to earn a living and he's done pretty well for himself, focusing on results rather than awards. Yet still something inside him begged for attention... the desire to write... not functionally or strategically but creatively. 

After years working in advertising, J.D. decided there were better ways to write fiction. Where some people choose to invent new products, he has chosen to invent worlds through words. He has since published multiple books in the fantasy/sci-fi vein. 

J.D.'s post below chronicles his quest to remain true to his writing and to himself. Hopefully his words will inspire you to do the same. 

Don't Write for the Market

You know that job you hate, the one you do just to pay the bills? The one that sucks your soul? If you’re in high school, do you know that class you are FORCED to take? That feeling of helplessness, of doing something that’s not worth the time or the effort?

That’s what it means to write for the market.

Or at least that’s what it means to me.

People have often said I made a smart move by including vampires in my book because obviously vampires sell like hot cakes. This line of commentary has led me to clarify that my novels aren’t vampire books, they simply have vampires. Might I add that they are not your typical vampires because I focus much more on the character traits that make them unique rather than the unifying elements of blood drinking and other vampire specific themes. To be honest, the vampires I write about are as heterogeneous as they are disparate, two seeming synonyms that imply different things. To me, the main thing that unites vampires is the drinking of blood. The Human Cycle is a lot more about the aspects of humanity and how they manifest in different races and species and ends up being an intense mashup of sci-fi, fantasy, philosophy, etc. It is also one of the most personal works I will probably pen in my life, even being full on fiction. That’s because I wrote for me, obeying the vision I have of my exploration of humanity and the human aspect.

The first book (Only Human) is 164,000+ words long and the second (Shadow of a Human) is around 89K. When asked about the difference, my answer is simple: the story is as long as it has to be. Period. I’ve been told the first one is too long and although I can see why some people would think that, a lot of people haven’t minded and it allowed me to set the stage to do exactly what I want to do.

I know people who are writing something in the vein of [ENTER WELL KNOWN NOVEL OR SERIES HERE] because they want to make it big. Although I’m of the mind that everyone is entitled to their path towards happiness, let me be the one to say that this method will more often than not lead to misery instead. This happens because writing became a means to an end, rather than a true passion.

Every writer wants to make it big. Every single one. Some people write something that sells and on occasion, some people meant for that to be the case. But when you look at JK Rowling, look at how many times she was rejected before she was given a break. Tell me Neil Gaiman’s trajectory makes any sense and you’ll need to bring some hard evidence to support that because it is as crazy a journey as I think you can imagine. That’s because in both examples, they write from the heart, what they believe in, their vision, what drives them. They weren’t thinking about likes, hits, or bending their story to fit to what sells.

So why not you?

Why do you have to settle for writing the next Twilight, the Next 50 Shades of Gray, the Next Lord of the Rings? Why can’t you just write the next great novel? YOUR great story.

By the way, the reason why I suggest this is far from altruistic. (altruism: (n) the principle or practice of unselfish concern for or devotion to the welfare of others (opposed to egoism).

It’s actually the opposite.

I suggest you write with passion and what drives you because if you depend on external validation, writing will be a brutal road and odds are you won’t make it. Many a day I need to lose myself in my work, hoping beyond hopes that I am true enough, unique enough, and genuine enough for people to give me a chance and possibly find something they like. But I don’t write thinking about them. I write following what my heart compass dictates and walking that path, whatever it may bring and wherever it may take me.

I am well aware at how blessed I am at the luck I’ve had that my work either appeals or resonates with people, but that wasn’t intentional. I didn’t say, “let me do this so people enjoy.”

I wrote for me.

I write for me.

I will write for me.

I do this because by doing so I guarantee myself that even on the tough days of life, writing will be something I love and enjoy. It means I won’t have to push through something I hate to get to what I love, because the act of writing itself is what I love so much.

I am far from a point in my life where I can live off of my writing alone… but I am also in a point in my life where writing has become such a part of my genetic makeup, that I have basically guaranteed I’ll write for the rest of my life. So I wish upon you to do the same in spirit if not in method or route. Be true to yourself. Write to what speaks to you. Dare to dream and then dare to capture that dream on paper and share it with us.

Peace, love, and maki rolls.

J.D. Estrada's obsession with the human aspect of who we are is deeply embedded in all his work and his first book is no exception. Though still starting its journey towards the top 100 Amazon books, Only Human is the first link within the Human Cycle, a three book exploration of humanity through fiction.

He recently released his second installment of the Human Cycle, his first bilingual compilation of essays, poetry and short stories, and his first Spanish poetry collection. He is currently working on a sci-fi novella and a young adult adventure of a boy who dreams of flying. In addition, he consistently puts out free material on his blog ( and rants with zest on Twitter via @jdestradawriter. He also has instagram and youtube if you want to see what he’s getting up to or what delicious cuppa tea he may recommend.

It's extremely important that authors write for themselves, to remain passionate about their art; otherwise, what's the point? As soon as I stop thinking about what I think I should write, and write what I want to write, all the pieces fall into place. Just let it go. Seriously...Let it go. Now. You won't be sorry.

Thank you for sharing such an inspirational post, J.D.! I wish you, and all writers out there, success with your writing career.

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