Writing is a time-invasive, time-inefficient, and time-insensitive process. It takes forever to write stuff sometimes. There are a lot of factors that go into writing a novel and even shorter forms of writing like poetry, short stories, and articles.
For poetry, you have to learn a massive lexicon to pull from and understand rhythm and cadence, rhyme and meter, form and structure. Different poems have different forms. Sonnets and haikus are much different than free verse poems.
With short stories, you have to craft something with emotional impact, a succinct theme, or moral learning within the confines of a few hundred to a few thousand words. It involves careful planning to be concise yet thorough.
Novels are, of course, lengthy pursuits. Crafting and plotting a long-form story can be exhausting and time-consuming. These stories also require more attention to details, pacing, and formatting than shorter writings.
Articles are tough to write because you often have to do a lot of research. I also find myself rewriting articles a lot more than I do any other form of writing. Moreover, the style of writing for articles is often less forgiving and flexible (or at least I find it to be so).
All that to say, it's hard work to write, no matter what we're writing, so naturally, we want to show it off to other people. And this is the hardest part of writing—the part that doesn't even involve writing.
There are different camps of writers. For instance, you have those of us who are strictly hobby writers who remain unpublished and write solely for fun, those who write and publish or want to be published but don't care for money, and those who want to be published and make enough from writing to do it full-time.
Myself? I fall into the "do it for fun but money is nice" camp of writers. Of course, if I could make a living from writing, I would, but it's more about the fun of writing silly little stories rather than the dream of a paycheque.
So then why do I care if people read my book or not?
Good question, me. I don't. I write for myself mainly. Sometimes for friends too (I wrote a silly dating handbook in college for friends [and yes, you can buy it]). So I don't really mind not marketing my stories to people en masse.
As the years go on, I do want more people to read the stories. I know it's not going to be for everyone. Not everyone will like what I write. I might not even be good at writing. I'm not even really trying to be. I'm trying to have fun and write silly little stories that I enjoy. And as long as I enjoy it, I don't mind if no one else does.
In the limited time I've ever tried to market myself, I've found it tough. It feels like screaming into the void with a thousand other writers screaming side by side, all trying to garner each other's attention, saying, "Hey, buy my book because XYZ." I don't mind screaming sometimes though, so here's my feeble yell: "Read my book; I worked hard on it, and I think it's pretty neat."
I think I prefer writing for myself over writing for a market. I'm the first reader of the story, of course, so I should be the first person to enjoy what I've created (minus that nagging self-critic in the back of my head). If I can't enjoy my own work, I can't expect anyone else to. If I can't write for myself, how can I be expected to write for anyone else? It's passion first; profit can wait.
And sure, writing to a market makes it more marketable, but I don't care about being marketable. Those who are familiar enough with me should know how much I hate writing "rules" and all that. I hate the idea of writing "marketable" ideas too. That, to me, kills my artistic passion. I want to create stories, not churn a formula. And to those who do write for marketable ideas, keep going! I don't mean to bash this in any way, it's just not for me.
No matter what we write, at the end of the day, we are still artists, and we must write what we must write. That is the passion. This is art; be an artist.
as always, have a good wander!