I’ve always heard it said that the best writers write for the love of it. Not for the money. Never for the money. Just for the craft.
So, I’ll admit that there are times when I question my own motivation. I love to write, for the sake of writing. I enjoy the process of creativity, even when it’s hard (and don’t let anyone tell you it’s never hard – they are lying to you). For me, there’s nothing quite like that lightning bolt of feeling where you suddenly realize the way something is supposed to work in the story, and your fingers start flying across your keyboard at warp speed. But it’s not enough to write just for me, I want other people to see it, too. And while part of that is about providing entertainment to others and part of it is about spreading the message that is important to me, I won’t lie: part of it is also about selling books and getting a check from a publishing company with several zero’s on the end.
I appreciate the sentiment of writing for love, I really do. But it turns out that writers also have to eat, pay the light bill and replace their clothing every so often. Damn. I thought we were supposed to get out of that.
The big kicker for me is that as soon as the writing starts providing an income of its own, then I get to quit my job and, guess what, write MORE. Yay! I like my job: it’s interesting work and there are nice people there, but it doesn’t fill my soul the way writing does.
I don’t have to live very high on the hog either. My husband and I do have some nice things and get to do some fun stuff in our life, but we certainly don’t buy everything we want the minute that we want it. We’re not trying to keep up with anybody. When I say zero’s, I’m not talking about buying yachts for my free time, I’m talking about wanting to make enough that we can enjoy our lifestyle for a year or two before the money runs out (so as to give me time to publish something new).
So is that so wrong? I can’t say money isn’t a primary motivation when I put words to a page, but it’s only a motivation so that I can keep my life running while I attempt to put more words to more pages. To give me the space to do what I really feel called to do. I can like a lot of different jobs; I think I can only love this.
It’s a conflict that I’ll admit I haven’t completely settled in my own mind. I’m still a blooming writer, and I’m extra new in terms of allowing people to read my work. So you’re not necessarily going to get the answers on this blog, but rather the questions as I see it, and the process that I go along in trying to find the answers to those questions. If you were looking for a seasoned writer to mentor you, you’re in the wrong place. But if you want to learn with me, stick around. I will occasionally say something clever. (Here’s one: I believe that epiphany is the product of thousands of thoughts and feelings building up over time that finally coalesce into unique understanding. So this blog is really about the thousands of thoughts I will have along the way to something really meaningful. We hope.)
When you chase your dream, do you do it for the love or the money? Or, like me, are you trying to figure out the best way to balance both?