I'm working on a short story at the moment, and squirming. I'm aiming it at a particular audience, which means I'm having to adjust the way I would naturally write it, and this goes against so much advice about being true to your voice, and writing what you want, not for a market.
But money doesn't grow on trees, and I'm trying to establish myself as a writer. This is a route to publication that I'm keen to explore. And it takes a certain amount of skill to write for a particular audience, surely? Copy-writers, for instance, get on and write what they need to to bring the pennies in, and are just as skilled with words and what they do as the next writer.
This is all theoretical. Writing short stories is pretty tricky stuff, and getting published just as tricky. Getting a story that's interesting - or even gripping! - into such a tight form is an art in itself. I'm nowhere near getting it right, but I'll be nearer if I can keep writing them, and keep sending them out during this time when I can't focus on my novel the way I'd like to.
And that's the other thing, I suppose. I love working on my novel. I get lost doing it. On the other hand, I'm very conscious of myself as I write short stories, trying to manipulate my words and the story. (Not a bad skill to hone). I'm not as happy with what I'm producing.
So am I doing the right thing, or not?