Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Don't write to get published.

Yeah, you heard me.

In my new writers' group (remember me telling you I was gonna keep you updated on that endeavor?), we had a discussion last week about getting published and making money from selling your work. One of our members is really frustrated because she wants to write the perfect niche book, the one that's the next big thing and will make her a ton of cash. She doesn't want to invest her time and effort in a project that may not pay off financially.

After letting her vent, I reminded her that our jobs were not to get published, go on a book tour, sell a billion copies of our novels, have thousands of fans, or create the Next Big Thing, whatever that may be.

Our job is to write.

It doesn't matter what you think is going to sell. In fact, I believe that if you go into writing thinking about whether or not you're going to be able to sell what you're producing, it gums up the whole works. When you tell your muse you're not interested in what she has to say unless there's a profit in it for you, it can really piss her off.

It's our job to listen to the muse and interpret what she's saying for the rest of the world to hear. That's what we were put here for, and the Universe doesn't give a shit whether or not you get paid. I believe that if you write what you love, what you think is fun, and you write it well, then eventually you'll find a place for your work.

But even if you never make a penny on it, IT DOESN'T MATTER. Remember, this is more important than money. This is creativity, this is artistic energy, this is shared vision.

And those things last forever.


Charmaine Clancy said...

I write and I teach, I only get paid for one at this stage :) but, I'd do both for free if I had to. These are just things that make my life feel full. Some writers do writer towards markets and I think that can work too, but you do have to like what you're writing.

I've never been good with money anyway :)

Talli Roland said...

This is a fantastic reminder. We need to love to write in order to be able to stay in the game -- it's easy to let everything else get you down. But if you remember why you do it...

Sarah Ahiers said...

i mean, i write to get published, but let's get serious here, you can't begrudge the journey. I assume all of my ideas on the backburner have just as much chance as any of the others of being the story that gets me further along on my journey. There's no point to worrying about what to write next. Just write what you love, it'll come through in the work

Sophia said...

I write *and* want to get published, I don't write to get published. I think if you want to be able to consistently publish books (and one hopes that would be the end goal, not to write one bestseller that makes millions and disappear) you have to love the process. I would write even if I never got published, but I'd like to be able to make money off something I'd be doing anyways.
- Sophia.

Ella said...

Beautiful post! When we add to much pressure the fun is sucked out and what is left is flat. It is true with any artistic endeavor(ooh, good E word) ;-D I love your soap box speech; so glad you shared it with us~

Shannon Lawrence said...

Great point! This year I've been attending conferences and various writer's get togethers, and I hear people talking about scrapping what they love because it supposedly isn't publishable. I say write what you love, what lives in your head, and go from there. I don't see how you can get quality from writing something you don't really want to write.

Good luck with the A to Z Challenge!

Ellie Garratt said...

Well said. First and foremost, I write. Of course I want to be published and my dream is to be able to earn enough money to do it full time. But whether or not this happens, I will still write.

Great post!

Ellie Garratt