I read a fabulous quote yesterday on a calendar at the doctor’s office that struck a chord with me. “If you want to stand out, don’t be different; be outstanding.”
As a writer I am always thinking of ways to draw attention to my writing. Writing is a crowded, competitive field. Check out any of the current bestseller lists. Sadly you won’t find my name. At least not today. I haven’t yet stepped out of the pack. Maybe you are in the same situation on your job. Or at school. Or with the opposite sex. Or wherever you desire to be noticed.
In many fields, writing included, those trying to break in look for a current trend or theme to mimic to sell their product. This week in writing, it’s vampires. Publishers and agents are inundated with books trying to capitalize on the success of the Twilight series and others. The only problem with that method is things change and by the time you finish your first draft what’s selling books today may be out of style.
Other writers decide they’ll get noticed by being different. They’ll thumb their nose at convention by not giving their romance novel a happy ending. That only works for Nicholas Sparks. Or they write a book about a flesh eating alien who runs for the U.S. Senate and adopts a child from a third world country. While there’s nothing wrong with exploring new avenues and thinking outside the box, there is probably a reason why few publishers would be clamoring for the aforementioned works.
It is best not to reinvent the wheel. In fiction most genres have certain rules aspiring writers should adhere to, such as letting the guy get the girl or bringing your villain to justice. Rather than worrying so much about being different, how about we focus our talents and gifts on being outstanding. Write the best novel you can. Put together the best presentation. Put everything you have into your demo. Whatever you do, don’t be different; be outstanding. Only then will you stand out in a crowd.