There is an excellent article in the Christmas edition of the Spectator by Tony Parsons on why writing a bestseller requires something more than writing simply for the money. It requires heart and passion. Bestsellers become bestsellers because they are written from the heart. He argued even Harold Robbins with his books that became the runaway bestsellers wrote from the heart. I found myself agreeing with him wholeheartedly.
As a professional writer, it goes without saying -- I write for the money. It is how I earn my living. But I care passionately about each and every book I write. If I didn't care, the reader wouldn't care.
Why do I write the books I write?
Because I am PASSIONATE. Passionate about the need to have good historical romance where the setting is vivid. Passionate about the time periods involved. Passionate about the characters. And most importantly Passionate about the stories I want to tell.
Parson points out about idiotic boyfriends who tell the girlfriend -- go ahead write a chick lit, it's easy and you can make money. So you get idiotic people who think that writing Harlequin Mills and Boon is easy. I would say the reason why the current stable of writers write for HM&B is because they are passionate about the stories they write. They care intensely. These books would not be as successful as they are IF the writers were not dedicated to the medium.
Here I should point out that every HM&B is a world wide best seller. These books speak volumes to women around the globe. You do not get that sort of following without heart and fire in your belly.
Writing commercial books does not mean that the writers are any less dedicated to their stories.
Success in storytelling comes from being passionate about your stories. Full Stop.
Sometimes, yes, writers who would rather be writing other things get taken on, but they do not tend to last. And they are very much the exception rather than the rule. Also sometimes, writer's own individual interests takes them on a separate path from HM&B, but it does not mean they do not care passionately about the stories they told, rather that the Muse has led them elsewhere.
Without passion, without heart, stories can feel contrived and flat.
Ultimately because writing is such a long and lonely process, no one writes for the money. It has to come from the heart. One has to care passionately. In order to succeed in this business, you must have fire in your belly. You must have the desire to write the story. It shows in the writing. Always.
The very lovely Ray Anne went and found the url of the article. You can read it here. I read from the print copy as the Christmas Special of the Speccie always provides food for thought. Among other things, it has a Molesworth article and an article about the orgins of the crib.