Let's take this thought exercise a step further and set both camps at opposite ends of a continuum. Now ask yourself, where do you stand? If ever you're to get anyplace, you'll first need to know where you are.
What Sells Will Sell
But this mindset is not without its risks. The first law of pop culture states that any time something becomes sufficiently popular, "me-too" examples always seem to crop up, hoping to ride its coattails. Pop culture's second law holds that consumer tastes can be fickle -- what sells at any given moment might flop the next. Case in point: remember that steamy paranormal romance between an Egyptian mummy and a shapeshifting were-moose sorceress? Yeah, we don't either.
What's Good Will Sell
One extreme example of this type was Howard Phillips Lovecraft. The man sure could write, and yet Lovecraft never garnered much notoriety while alive. His work has since become astronomically famous and has been interpreted in subsequent literature, music, art, film, and even videogames. The almost unbelievable popularity of his writing underscores his talent and creativity. It's just a shame this all came too late for him to enjoy it.
Just Who Are You, Anyway?
* Do you write just to sell books, or because you believe in your story?
* Do you stay firmly within genre expectations, or do you defy convention?
* Would you mind if what you've written shocks your readers, or is that the reason you write?
* Do you write what you feel or know, or do you write what the audience wants to read?
* Are your characters based on people you've met, or are they characters your readers expect in your genre?
* Which is more important: a logical -- but mechanical -- plot, or an organic -- but convoluted -- storyline?
* Which is more important: heavy action or suspense with shallow emotional register, or vice versa?
The answers to questions like these may surprise with how much they say about you. They get to the heart of why you write, which ultimately defines who you are as a writer. They'll also help you spot potential problems in your writing. For instance: maybe overemphasis on tried-and-true genre elements has resulted in a story that rings of cliche; or maybe that genre-defying caveman/steampunk/space opera you've penned confuses readers.
Finding out who you are is your map. Figuring out why you write is your compass. The journey's in the writing.