There’s been a particular issue on my mind in the past few days and I wanted to put a post together about it. This isn’t to discourage anyone about writing, this is to give a bit of a reality check that might actually save your love of writing and the drive to do it. That reality check can be very nicely summed up in one tweet I did a little bit ago:
Write for the love of it, not because you think you’ll be rich. #writingtruth
— FloridaWriters (@FloridaWriters1) January 15, 2015
I don’t know about you, but I had high hopes when I released my first book. People who had heard about it seemed to enjoy it, and I loved every minute of writing it. People loved the cover I chose. I was anxiously counting down the days until my book came out. And then the release day hit and my high hopes were quickly stomped. Here’s the thing, though: I had those high hopes, but I was also preparing myself for the possible reality. I know an author who has a huge profile who had this to say about the issue of money. Kristin Lamb breaks the odds down even more. I know a lot of other writers who quit their day jobs on the strength of their initial books and are now back to working day jobs.
Some people still do approach their writing career with stars in their eyes, and that’s okay. To an extent. If you don’t dream big and make the effort to make those big dreams happen, what’s the point? Still, I think there needs to be an even bigger motivation than making money: telling a story for the love of it. Moving even one reader with your words. Bringing those daydreams that haunt you to life. That’s what’s going to keep you going through the long days of struggling over a problematic chapter, the rejections that are inevitable in this field, the bad reviews, and the other obstacles that stand in the way. That love of words is going to motivate you to return to the page even when the sales figures aren’t so great.
Again, have goals and dream big. Just don’t invest so much energy and expectation of riches that you get discouraged if those sales figures don’t match up to the dream. That is the surest way to silence your muse.