Here’s a thought. This week’s lottery was at 30 million. Let’s say you won it. Never mind what you would do with it. Would you still write?
Add to that another thought: you don’t really need to write for food and rent. Somehow that’s taken care of. Inheritance. Another job. A spouse that brings in enough. So the question becomes, if there wasn’t money (or at least its possibility) at the end of the stick would you still write?
What if your writing never gave you the financial gains you are hoping for: Allow you to quit your day (or night) job, travel, buy that cottage by the sea, and attend all the writing conferences you wanted to. Would you still write?
What is your writing worth? Do you measure it by the hours spent in front of your computer? Do you include the research? The café lattes? The bottles of scotch that you emptied in the name of inspiration? Is the success of your writing tangled up with how much of your writing you sell?
What about those hidden costs? The time not spent with friends or family? The hours struggling over a paragraph when you could be peacefully hiking in the woods or finally going to the film festival?
Writing – at least novel writing – is one of the few professions where you do all the work without knowing if you’ll ever get paid for it. Many agents and publishers require a completely finished and polished manuscript. There is no guarantee after all those hours, weeks, months, and years of work that you will sell your novel. No wonder the rate of throwing in the blanket is so high.
If you want to write there’s got to be more than the possibility of financial gain. Fulfillment has to be in the very process of writing itself.
You know how you feel after you’ve done a good piece of writing? No one may ever see it and yet the remainder of your day is filled with a feeling of self worth that no money can buy.
Although, it must be quite a high to see your novel on a bookshelf in a bookstore.