I spent part of this evening working on revising a silly story I wrote a year and a half ago, which involves a lavender-colored alien and a former South American military leader's body parts. Now from a practical viewpoint, I should be spending what little writing time I have on new material, since I know for a fact that my writing has gotten significantly better in the last year and a half. On the other hand, I've been circulating this story out to one or two markets lately, just so I can feel that I've got something out and making the submission rounds... and I've gotten back a couple of interesting comments on it, which have made me want to revisit it.
Here's the real question though:
Why do I want to work on it, even if I ultimately know that it may not sell anywhere? Part of the reason is that I love the human main character, since he's such an endearing idiot. But there's other reasons too, and figuring them out has been perplexing me for the rest of the evening. Why do writers continue to work on pieces, if there isn't any marketability to it? I know that part of writing is art, and hell, it's a lot of fun to do too, but the agent side of me forces me to look at my own writing more pragmatically nowadays. Yeah, I'm "making art" and "writing the next great masterpiece", blah blah blah... but at the same time, I'm trying to create a marketable piece of entertainment that will sell and help me pay my bills. But does viewing writing solely from a pragmatic point-of-view hamper your creative efforts?
What are people's thoughts on this? Would you rather write directly in view of selling something, or do you follow your own muse? Or do you take my route of tonight, which was to put the story on hold, after revising it for a bit, and go off to indulge myself with THE ANDROID'S DREAM? The pure avoidance method, at least for me. Where do you strike the balance between creativity and pragmatism?