I've a friend who, like me, wants to be a mystery writer. Unlike me however, he has chosen a different route to get published. I write my stories first, then send them out to whatever magazines the story is fit for. This doesn't always work out well for me, but I did get a few short stories published here and there, adding up to five total over the past year or so. My friend, who began writing around the same time as me, has a very different approach. Instead of writing and then trying to get his work published, he writes to get published. He looks at a magazine that has decent pay/acceptance rate, then writes specifically for the magazine he wants to get in. I know it's common practice to make sure your work is what the magazine wants, but he goes well beyond that. He doesn't just make sure his work is fit for the magazine, he builds each story from the group up so they fit in better. Sometimes he doesn't even like the style he has to work with, but he deals with it. While I take days sometimes to write what I want to write, he just busts out what he needs to write every single day. Sure he gets rejected a lot of times, but with his calculating approach he is getting a lot of success lately. The more stuff he publishes the easier it's getting for him to keep publishing short stories. One of the small circulation magazines he got published in even sent him an e-mail asking him if he wanted to run another story there since he reflected their philosophy so well. I asked a lot of people about this and they say that you need passion to succeed and that 'robotic' approaches don't work. But the thing is, I've seen it work. We both began writing when we were eighteen. We decided to compete against each other since it would serve as a sort of motivation to keep improving. Our basic idea was to write short stories for two years, build up a decent curriculum, then start sending out query letters to agents. Now we are both nineteen, and....well, he has been doing better than I have by far. He got 16 stories accepted into magazines, 3 of which are the "actually important" type of magazine. He told me to just try out to be calculating type for once around 4 months ago. ...Since then my acceptance rate has improved at least 400%. I'm having a bit of an existential crisis as a writer, so I'd like to hear some opinions about this. If your ultimate goal is to become a novelist, should you write from the heart, or should you be as professional as possible? I know this isn't a black and white theme. It's just that I was convinced for a long time that I was right in my way of pursuing things and that even if you were a good writer(which my friend definitely is) you needed to write because you liked to write, not because you were building a curriculum, or else it would turn out bad. Now, I'm not so sure anymore.