Do You Write For Money? Or Love?

Do You Write For Money? Or Love?

Why do you write?  Have you read about authors who rake in big bucks with their millions of sales on Amazon? Do you have visions of being the next Amanda Hocking or John Locke?  Do huge dollar signs dance in your dreams?  Do you scan the best seller’s list and focus your writing efforts on the type of book you think will sell the most copies?T

Or–do you write because writing is like breathing:  You can’t not write.  Do story ideas come to you in that edge between sleeping and waking that you hastily jot down?  Do you have more books to write floating around in the back of your mind than you can possibly write them all?  Do characters pop up and wave their hands at you, saying “Me! Me!  Write about me!”?  If you never sold anything, would you keep on writing?

Ask a roomful of writers why they write and you will get as many different answers as there are writers in the room.  “I have to.”   “I enjoy writing.”  “To say something.”  “My characters keep talking and I keep writing down what they say.” Few writers are so crass as to say that they are writing for money, even if they are.  So what is wrong with writing for money?  Nothing, unless that’s your only reason for writing.

Money is nice.  We all need it and most of us would like more than what we now have.  But, money isn’t everything and should not be your reason for writing.

If writing for money is your only reason for writing, then I hate to break it to you, but you most likely will not get rich selling your writing.  In fact, you probably won’t even make a living writing.  Why?  Because if your only reason for writing is money, then where is the soul in your writing?

It is possible to make a living with your writing.  Many writers do and enjoy both writing for money and for love.  No matter what the genre in which you write, to have a story that draws the reader into your world so that they reluctantly come to the end, you need to put part of yourself into your book:  your deepest desires, your deepest fears, your deepest needs and longings.  When your book comes from deep within you, then it will resonate with your target reader.  You still may not get rich, but you will enjoy your work, instead of churning out what you think you have to write to make money.

Of course, this is all just my opinion.  What do you think?

 ( A good way to tap into your inner self and to learn how to write a good book is to take Holly Lisle’s writing course.  She also has lots of free writing advice and information on her site. No, she’s not paying me to say this!)


About Sue

From the time, as a young girl, when Sue read the Narnia series by C.S. Lewis, she was hooked on fantasy. She loves to read fiction and write within many genres, but she always winds up going back to fantasy. For years she has had fantasy stories spinning around in her head and now that she is retired from many years of teaching, she is putting those stories into book form. She has many interests, including quilting and playing the mountain dulcimer, but writing is the most satisfying of all. Sue lives in the great state of Maine with her husband of 38 years. She has been a factory worker, a waitress, a librarian, and a teacher. Her biggest job was being a mother and she has three grown children. Now that she is a grandmother, she is enjoying that role immensely.

Posted on January 11, 2012, in about writing, Authors - Sue Santore and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. Great post Sue. No way I’m raising my hand for the “money only” category! But that is a bit of a blind. My soul is about to have some good- I’ll confess!
    I have no objection to making money, whatsoever. It would solve a lot of problems around here, and I was indeed thinking, when I started seriously pursuing this a year ago, that it might just help out. It was a thought standing maybe two or three thoughts in front of the back of my mind… but I honestly believe I’d still write without any sales.
    What I can’t live without is the “fame”- knowing that people have read and like the stories, that’s the elixir of life. I can’t be content to jot down notes in a vacuum anymore. And the reviews and comments I’ve received are what really, truly keeps me going. That includes feedback before publication from folks like you, Kat, the Extreme Writers group and some of those who watched the Lands with me.

    • I’ve no objection to making money! My post was primarily about those who think writing is an easy road to riches and write whatever is selling just to make a fast buck. Yes, objective and positive feedback does help keep me in front of the computer, also. Thanks for your comment.

      • Definitely not easy! I’ve heard from writers at various conventions who talk about how hard it is. I’m not prioritizing money at this time, my priority is to write the books I want to read.

  2. Of course I dream of becoming the next eBook-millionaire (I would be the first one in Germany). I’m working on making a living at least. Should I be more successful than can be planned, I’ll get myself a household aid (what my Mom called the “kitchen pearl”), a secretary (for non-writing related stuff), and I’d set up a writing competition named after me with a reasonably high price that selects books in my preferred genres by unknown authors.
    But even without any of those, I’ll still be writing. Because that’s who I am.

    • “But even without any of those, I’ll still be writing. Because that’s who I am.”

      Yes! If we write because we are writers, then the money [If we make any. 🙂 ] is a nice bonus.

  3. “Do you have more books to write floating around in the back of your mind than you can possibly write them all?”

    *lol* This is SO me! I have 12 partially planned novels that I can tick off without even thinking hard…and probably another dozen in the “seed” stage. When I finish one project, the major problem becomes, “Uhm…which one next?”

  4. So true! I have good reasons why I should choose either of them. I’m the kind of person who, when presented with two choices, finds a way to choose them both. I may just have to work on them simultaneously.

    Meanwhile I chug along on my revision in progress.

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