I have always been a big proponent of write what you need to write, not write to the market. I still am. But a recent comment on Lifehacker led me to a recent post on the Wandering Mirages blog, that led me to the Hedgehog Concept from Jim Collins’s book, Good to Great. It reminds me of some of the tools in What Color Is Your Parachute, a book that helped me tremendously about twenty years ago in making some big life decisions. The Hedgehog Concept (not to be confused with the hedgehog song from Discworld) goes something like this:
1. What do you love? What fills you with joy when you do it?
2. What are you good at? Really, really good at?
3. What will pay you a living wage? (You define “living.”)
The place where all of those intersect is where you should put your energies.
I still think that you have to write what you have to write, but if you’re looking at changes in your life that are affecting your decisions about what to write or just your ability to write certain things, I think this is really useful because it simples things up: here are the three basic things you need to know about yourself. Now what do they mean to you?