Dan Brown talks about writing, success, and taste:
I had written The Da Vinci Code. I had finished it. It had not been published yet. The galley came out, the advanced reading copy. I took it out to a park and sat down with it, and read it in a whole day. Read the whole thing from cover to cover. And thought, if this book doesn’t work, then I shouldn’t be a writer. Because to my taste, this is a terrific book. This is a book I would want to read. When you’re a creative person, all you have to guide you is your own taste. I don’t care whether you’re a painter, a musician, or a writer. You have to create the piece of art, the piece of music, the literature that you like. Then hope other people share your taste.
So for me, it was trusting my gut, saying: “Wait a minute: Just write the book you want to read. That’s all you’ve ever been doing.”
You compartmentalize and realize that whatever you’re doing, you’re doing for yourself. You are writing the book that you would want to read, then hoping other people share your taste. In my case, I knew at that point people shared my taste. The worst thing I could do for my brand was to chase what I thought they wanted. I know what they want. It’s what I want. So just do what you, as a leader, or an artist, or whatever it is, want to do.