Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Would You Write for Nothing?
Face it. Writers don't make squat on the average. I don't know the ratio of writers who make a six figure income versus those who can't break $10K, but my guess is on the line of one in ten thousand - - and that's probably way conservative. That's one hundredth of one percent.
And those odds continue to worsen due to self-publishing. The market is flooded now with reading material. When the average person doesn't read more than a couple books in a year, who the heck is reading these books?
Yet we continue watching the star on the horizon, aiming to one day reach it and hold our bestselling book in our hands. It's like playing the Powerball twice a week, with the Power Play, in hopes that one day you can quit work and pay off all the bills. The more we play, the better our chances.
But would you write if you knew you'd never make a living at writing? Most of you would say yes. Would you write if you couldn't make a dime? Hmmm...I wonder.
Writers write differently when they choose to write for money. They only have one eye on the writing. The other is on the bank. Loyalties are split. They don't write for the love of crafting the perfect story. Well, they might start off writing that way, but these are the people who eventually walk away because they can't make dollars for the time invested.
"The ultimate test of man's conscience may be his willingness to sacrifice something today for future generations whose words of thanks will not be heard." ~Gaylord Nelson
When you write as if the story was your legacy, you write differently. It's like handing in your final term paper - the one that makes the difference in whether you graduate . . . to the teacher who'd flunk you for one misplaced comma, dangling participle or split infinitive.
You might be writing for free. Truth is . . . if you knew up front that you were, would you still write?
This sounds like a corny post, one that will result in most people replying with a resounding "yes, I'd write because it's like breathing." To all those who would respond in a strong affirmative, let me ask you this -- do you write every day? Like breathing?