- Books, Literature, and Writing»
- Commercial & Creative Writing
Money and Writing: Email: Are You Really a Writer if You Only Write?
Money Is Everything In This World? Writing and Publishing
This is all about the writing business, and what we as writers do, which is writing for a living but also about who really is considered a writer-- in this case if you make money after publishing your book. Now for the record anyone who writes with passion to me is a writer, and I feel strongly about this, however for the sake of this email, they are referring to writing for a living as something which is more as a profitable business-- as in the person makes money.
As I write a lot, on blogs and on hubs, I get a lot of emails. They mostly ask me questions or ask for links or a book review. Since I've been writing for a long time, this is common, but this email I got wasn't one that I could keep to myself. It concerns writing and money. More to the point the money that goes, or should go, with writing. The email is in italics below.
"To suggest to such a degree that writers are anyone who writes is absurd. The only possible way to prove oneself as a writer is to make enough money to be self sustaining. Otherwise, there is no hope for the "writing career" of said writer. Only jokers are willing to sacrifice themselves for a dream. These people should have no standing in the writing world.Too many people fancy themselves writers and spend time poking at a computer. In reality they do nothing, not even write. Blogs do not count, as bloggers simply write rubbish. They do not have a job to refer to, other than their dream. I say again it is a dream... no money they are not a writer, they are a dreamer. Dreamers need to come down from their clouds and get a real job. I suspect that writers who don't make money have someone who backs their delusions up.... I repeat again all writers without money are dreamers. Delusional dreamers and nothing more."
Ah yes the dreamers comment, I find it hard to comprehend, or at least it makes me stop and think, why does this email feel that writers who don't make money are dreamers? Is it because they are a lost writer of sorts? It makes sense to ask this sort of question when I get these emails. This being a business this is important to think about.
It is possible I suppose, after all as dreamers writers create and that isn't per se a bad thing. But if all one does is dream, well the emailer does have point from there. They do make more points, and some of them I do agree with and many of them i do not. Everyone has a writing voice and everyone should be able to express them. It is the time and the effort that count the most. Money is important, but again is you focus on money as the only benchmark, you will find that it become harder to publish a work of value.
Does the writer of the email have a point
Points on Writing, Money and Publishing
I'll go through some good points and some not so good points about this email:
The Good Points:
Writers must write and work for their writing, that is like myself they must publish a book (In Search of the Lost Ones is my first!). I feel that this point is overshadowed in the effort to talk about money. Yes, money is needed to live, and there is nothing good about the Starving artist, they don't do their finest work if they are not mentality and physically healthy. To say that you are a writer and then to work in some other medium, but talk about writing, then you're a hobby writer. There is nothing wrong with that, Just tell it like it is.
Money is a need for everyone. I think as writers we need to have a goal of working towards making a steady income with our writing. It may be small at first but, it will snowball. It needs to be at least something that happens on a regular basis. If that can't be done, one must wonder a bit more about their work as a writer, or if this is their profession. It is of course, a personal choice, and something it needs to be a choice that makes sense. If you've written say 5 novels and you don't make back your advance, well question your work. On the other hand, should you make the advance and then some, this is a good thing.
Anyone can write. Anyone, but I don't know who writes small things, Christmas Cards or emails, and calls themselves "writers". I most certainly do not draw and paint and say I'm an artist of that medium. The fact that I enjoy painting but will never make money on that doesn't mean that it isn't something I shouldn't try, and enjoy.
Not So Good Points:
Money is everything. No, it's not, if you write for money you run the risk of writing the same things before because it "works" if you write with a passion and enjoyment for writing a small bit of money in return for your work is alright. As I've said int eh other "good points" the income should be steady. But it shouldn't be everything. In fact it shouldn't be the sole reason to write. If it is... fine, but I might not as a reader want to read more.
Suggesting that Writers don't work. Okay a bit of a good and bad point. Here's my take, if you write and you want to write, don't quit your day job unless there is something to make sure you can sustain yourself. It is when a writer makes a bit of extra money on the side that this might become an issue, after all, it isn't a hobby then, but not enough to quit full time and write. I'd love to do that but I also know not yet.
Using someone else. I don't like the idea of it one bit. I am against it, as a friend of mine said so clearly, it's manipulations at its finest. There is one proviso that I make to this statement, that is this: Agreed upon sustaining for a period of time between close relations. For example: A one year thing between a husband and wife (or significant long term other) where someone works for steady income and the other writes or does art or something, and begins to bring in money that way. There should be a time limit though, and an acceptance that things aren't going the way they should. That is alright as well.
Not mentioning other ways that writers can make money in this email. You don't simply have to write a book to make money. There is blogging, interviewing, writing, commentaries, ghostwriting nothing is ordinary, but also if it pertains to writing it works. In fact all of these methods can produce a steady stream of readers, and income. It takes some planning, and a good business plan, and a marketing plan.
One final Suggestion:
Start writing, and write with an intent to publish and to make money. Decide how much you want and aim for a bit more than that. We aren't dreamers us writers, but we should take the time to make our dreams a reality.
Dream and create, and work hard at what you do. Enjoy every moment, and write about it. Some moments aren't great but some are better. Money isn't everything, dreamers are needed.