“Don’t do it for the money.” Of course, it’s impossible to live all your life by this philosophy. We need money to live. Money keeps a roof over our heads, food on our tables, and clothes on our bodies. For some people, the pursuit of money is what gets them out of bed in the morning. You have to go to work to get a paycheck, after all.
Yet with writing, as with anything else, you shouldn’t pursue it as a career if your sole focus is making money. For one thing, writing on the whole is not a lucrative career. I made money when I was self-employed full time as a writer and editor, but editing paid my bills, not writing. And during that time, I was so focused on making ends meet that I often neglected my writing. I became stressed and developed a pessimistic outlook toward any career in publishing.
Now, I’m fortunate enough to have a day job I love. It pays my bills. Outside of that, I sell some books on occasion, but it’s not enough to retire early or anything like that. Still, I consider it a worthwhile use of my time. Why? Because I love it.
I’ve heard from several people lately that I should invest my time in more lucrative affairs, to make some extra money wherever and however I can. Those people see my writing as a waste of time and effort because it doesn’t generate income. Some of them even think I’m foolish for writing like I do.
To those people, I want to make one thing clear: I wouldn’t write if I didn’t enjoy it. Even when I complain about the writing process (because sometimes it’s difficult), there’s nothing I would rather do. To me, that’s the meaning of passion. No amount of money in the world can stand up to honest passion.
On the hard writing days, when the words don’t come easy and it’s all I can do not to give up, it’s my love for the craft that keeps me going—not any promise of monetary gain. I still think about making money from writing someday. That’s the dream. But I try not to let the idea consume me.
At the end of the day, it’s love that keeps me coming back to the keyboard.