Malin wrote an entry in his blog about writing for your audience. I think he makes a lot of good points, and I take a lot of that to heart, since I, too, write for what is a niche of a niche audience.
Thinking about this over the last several days, though, I'm finding myself increasingly more distraught about the reality of writing in general, and also in writing furry fiction.
Having writing as a hobby is like a two-edged sword: by definition, you need to set yourself apart from other people in order to make good on it, but people like writers. Or, at least, they profess to like writers and they claim an interest in writing. That's kind of one my sorest spots, actually.
See, when you're a writer, your friends always say stuff along the lines of, "Oh, you're a writer? That's so cool. I've love to see your stuff sometime." Except they... don't. Most of the time, your friends, even your good friends, don't actually want to read the things you've written. I've lost track of the number of times that I've specifically sent or even handed a story of mine to someone after they'd asked to read it, only to come back to them months later to find that, surprise surprise, they never bothered to.
It's extra-frustrating when you've got an pseudonym under which you write erotica. In that same period of time where you might've been hoping to have Friend A read the story you'd given for them specifically to read, you'll post an adult story online without even bringing it to their attention, but of course, they'll have read that story without being prompted, regardless of whether or not they knew said pseudonym belonged to you.
Write for your audience. That's what I'm trying to do. Furries normally latch on to anything furry with a fervor that's rarely seen elsewhere--give a TV show or a movie the faintest hint of anthropomorphics and you'll have furries lining up outside the door for a shot of Van Helsing as a sexy werewolf or to see the cat-shaped aliens or whatever. When it's the written word, though, it's like it doesn't matter what you write if you forget to include a scene where a fox gets a dick in his mouth.
I don't mean to sound like I'm griping pointlessly, but that's what I see. I see the furry fandom, pretty much the only audience anywhere who would ever want to read furry stuff, and even they don't want to read it.
So then, I look at the stuff I'm writing, and I feel self-conscious about it already in terms of content and quality, and I get to thinking, "If I pour my heart and soul into this to make it better, who the hell is even going to care?"
I am passionate about my writing. It's the thing I want to do with my life. I put so much time and effort and emotion into what I do because I have these stories I want to tell, and in the end, I have nobody to listen. I have to wonder if it's worth taking the years it takes to write and rewrite and polish and pitch and publish a novel that will fall by the wayside because it's not about animal-people having sex.
I'm usually more optimistic than this. But I'm writing for my audience, and it's an audience that I can see, and I'm writing directly at them, and they can't even see that they're being hit.
It's distressing. I don't want to give up. I don't want to not care. But I can't just write into the void. A storyteller can't sit in front of the fireplace and tell his story to an empty room.
So what do I do?