Some of my writing friends and I have been talking about what makes us hacks. After all, what writer hasn’t doubted herself at least once or twice in her writing career? I think Steven Pressfield sums it up beautifully below:
A hack, he [Robert McKee] says, is a writer who second-guesses his audience. When the hack sits down to work, he doesn’t ask himself what’s in his own heart. He asks what the market is looking for.
The hack condescends to his audience. He thinks he’s superior to them. The truth is, he’s scared to death of them or, more accurately, scared of being authentic in front of them, scared of writing what he really feels or believes, what he himself thinks is interesting. He’s afraid it won’t sell. So he tries to anticipate what the market (a telling word) wants, then gives it to them.
Therefore, I told my writing friends that as long as we’re writing something that sings to us, makes us really believes in it and allows us to be authentic, then we’re OK. :)