I haven’t read Stephen King in a while, but I recently picked off a random shelf the last of his Dark Tower series — The Song of Susannah. I was intrigued enough to start reading. King has in the past written many nice essays on the subject of writing. The introduction to this book is no exception.
What caught my eye and what I’m relaying here is germane to all the arts, so I thought I’d bring it in.
From “On Being Nineteen (And A Few Other Things)”
I think novelists come in two types, and that includes the sort of fledgling novelist I was by 1970. Those who are bound for the more literary or ‘serious’ side of the job examine every possible subject in the light of this question: What would writing this story mean to me? Those whose destiny … is to include the writing of popular novels are apt to ask a very different one: What would this story mean to others? The ‘serious’ novelist is looking for answers and keys to the self; the ‘popular’ novelist is looking for an audience.
It is no stretch to extend this to other arts. I know what kind of artist I am. Which kind are you?