1. friendly_meese
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    friendly_meese Member

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    re-evaluating my approach to writing

    Discussion in 'Insights & Inspiration' started by friendly_meese, Aug 8, 2014.

    Last night, I had an epiphany about my writing. It consisted of thoughts that had already been present in my consciousness, but that suddenly burst to the forefront and began clamoring for resolution.

    The epiphany was: I wanted a writing career because of money. I wanted to escape my disability check so that I could have some slight shred of dignity and self-worth. I wanted to have a normal income and be able to afford the things other people take for granted on their normal incomes. And writing is the only thing I can do even remotely well (because I'm not even all that skilled at wiping my butt). So my goal during the last spate of writing had been to launch a professional writing career, where my writing would support me.

    But I don't know whether that's realistic. Very, very few writers manage to support themselves through writing. I don't know anyone on this forum who is a true professional fully supporting themselves through writing income. The great Philip K. Dick spent his whole life nearly broke and living like a bum, so what chance do I have?

    I'm still going to write, but, if my goals weren't realistic, then I'll approach writing differently. I'll write only first drafts because that's what I most enjoy, editing only while re-reading the drafts for enjoyment. I'll write only when I feel the desire to do so and put absolutely no pressure on myself to "produce" when I don't feel like it. I can still show my writing to people who are interested in reading it, and I might even self-publish on a website under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Unported Licence, but I shan't make attempts at commercial publication or at selling my work for money.

    All of that depends, however, on whether my old goals for writing are meaningful or just foolish fantasy. Does anyone have any wisdom for me?
     
  2. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I'm glad you've realized that writing for the sake of getting rich is a bad idea. Not many writers can support themselves through their writing alone, and many must find other ways to earn a living (i.e., teach). That doesn't mean you should give up selling work for money. It's always nice to know that an editor or publisher liked your work enough to pay for it (this is especially true when it's a prestigious market). Having something published can help boost your reputation as a writer as well, and you'll earn recognition this way. Ultimately the choice is yours, but if you want my opinion, you should submit anything you write once you've polished it. Don't give up!
     
  3. Lae
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    Lae Contributing Member Contributor

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    What have you got to lose? Most people that i know that have pursued a creative artistic job as a main career tended to supplement it with a normal career until it "happens". I say go for it.

    Personally i cant stand the idea of being forced to produce. I have been offered money on quite a few occasions to produce some work, but i couldn't do it because my heart wasn't in it.
     
  4. friendly_meese
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    friendly_meese Member

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    It's not a matter of 'getting rich" but (1) having a tiny bit of dignity and self-worth, which are not available to me on a disability check; and (2) having a normal income where I can afford the kinds of things other people take for granted on their normal job incomes, which are also not available to me on a disability check.
     
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  5. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think there's no harm whatsoever in wanting to have a career in writing for the sake of having a career, a paying job and professional pride. To only want to write so you can get money is of course not a good idea, but neither is 'writing purely for the enjoyment' without any ambition whatsoever to ever earn from it (although this won't disappoint as much as the former). There's money to be made in writing, these days you can be a journalist for an online publication, you can get into copywriting, there are ways to earn some additional income, just not with fiction, not so quickly anyway.

    I know several people who write genre fiction, erotica and romance, and are earning good money from it, but that only works if you are good at those specific genres, and not everyone is. I think to write because you enjoy it, but combined with focus towards a goal of becoming published and producing multiple works, so you can become a career writer, is a good thing to aim for.
     
  6. PensiveQuill
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    PensiveQuill Contributing Member

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    Yes. I've chased every foolish fantasy in my life to date and realised every single one of them. I figure why stop there?

    I'm not saying its bad to have a realistic view of things. But without bigger dreams we actually run out of energy to just live. Human's thrive on reaching for the impossible and improbable. We are creatures of inspiration turning to habit mostly when we've given up.

    Never before has it been easier for a writer to reach their audience. There is opportunity in that. A livable income may not be in the form we can presently see. But it might surprise you just what can be achieved that couldn't before. Keep dreaming, and write.
     
  7. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    For many years, I was a runner. I trained for and ran many distance races (including two marathons). I never had an expectation of winning, but I trained as well as I could to run the best race I could, and running was an extremely rewarding experience for me.

    Getting published is an important goal for me, but it is not the reason I write. I was writing as a teen, when, other than the school newspaper, there was no expectation of being published. At the same time, while the goal of being published is not why I write, it provides an compelling incentive for excellence in my writing, so that I am always seeking to improve.
     
  8. Ulramar
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    Ulramar Contributing Member Contributor

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    Last November I sat down with my first real project and started on it, thinking, "With this I'll become published and rich and famous and I'll become a household name." That's what got me to sit down in the first place. That's what got me to write my first draft, to put me on this forum, to improving my writing skills and growing up along the way. Of course I know that I most likely won't be famous at all (fingers still crossed, though!), though that feeling is what kick-started my favorite hobby and past time, and made my writing a part of me.

    That "I'll be famous!" notion, in my opinion, is still good. If it keeps you writing, it's good.
     
  9. Empty Bird
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    Empty Bird Member

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    I don't think anyone can control your own purpose for writing.

    True, some people look down on others who "write to get rich", but then the people who "write to get rich" sometimes look down on those who write due to pure creativity.

    I must admit, at one point, I was probably the person who frowned at those who wrote to get rich.

    But whatever your reasons for writing are, the fact is is that you're writing. It's such a personal thing, writing, and I really don't think it's up to anyone to tell anyone else just what they should be feeling. There are ideals, of course. Although my goals for writing have nothing to do with money, just because I adore it, that doesn't mean that everyone should be the same.

    True, true, writing is one of the toughest careers to get into, but that doesn't mean that you should toss it aside as impossible. I wouldn't ever let something like that stop something. If it's your dream, if it's your passion, then nothing, no matter how many rejection letters, no matter how many bad reviews you get will get in your way. If it's a dream then you'll fight for it!

    I think a common problem today is that too many people think they should know how writers act and feel. You can see it in how they talk, how they write simple things.

    Perhaps it seems I'm doing the same thing. If so, I apologise.

    But writers are humans too. Don't stress about motives an goals and "is this right?" or "what does everyone else do?" your work is your own. Your words are your own. Your motivation is your own.

    Your writing belongs to you.

    No matter why you do it, as long as you enjoy it, then may it lead you wherver it leads you!

    (I'm sorry if this came across really weird...sometimes when I finish typing and post it I worry that it is.)
     
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  10. SuttonMichael254
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    SuttonMichael254 Active Member

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    ^^
    not at all, I was going to post my opinion but you pretty much said it all, actually enlightened me
     
  11. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    If you're not writing for the sake of the story you want to tell, then you better be a damn good writer if you want to earn a living from writing. Otherwise you're going to be disappointed.

    I'll be disappointed if after I write the story I want to tell, no one reads it. But telling this story is what matters to me in the end.
     
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  12. Autummyst
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    Autummyst Member

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    I like what a lot of folks have written here. For me, I write as a creative outlet. If when I send out my first truly completed, edited piece, I get some bites, then great! If not, that's okay. I'll keep writing anyway. I guess I'm in it for the creative outlet primarily and then if by happenstance, luck, or I turn out to be an okay writer I am published, then that's great too! At least for me, I find this the least stressful way to go about writing. However, I'm lucky in that I have a wonderful primary career as a professor and that is fulfilling enough for me in of itself. S0, I understand why you'd have more pressure to perform as a writer when it may be your primary mode of income at some point.
     
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  13. LeighAnn
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    LeighAnn Member

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    I'll be honest and say I write to make money. Oh, I enjoy it thoroughly, but my main motivation is putting food on the table for my two kids (who I support all on my own through writing). If I didn't make money the primary motivation, I'd spend all my time writing fluffy bunny nonsense that only I find entertaining. So the fluffy bunny nonsense is confined to my day off. Stuff that will sell is written during the week so I can put food on the table and a roof over our heads.
     
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  14. yagr
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    yagr Contributing Member

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    I get this. I've recently become disabled and still waiting on SSDI to begin. Today my wife is working thirteen hours of minimum wage today, trying and support us, while I sometimes have the strength to type. So, dignity and self-worth... yeah, I'm feeling you.

    As for the other part... you mean like wanting to stop at Starbucks and grab a coffee but you can't afford to because you are still facing the conundrum of how you're going to pay your rent that's due a week from today? I've no idea what you're talking about. ;)

    I write because I like writing. It's cathartic at times. Sometimes it's because a story demands to be written down. The money thing did raise it's head at one point but I let it go. About the time I did, I made money.
     
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  15. NanashiNoProfile
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    NanashiNoProfile Member

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    I began writing simply because my imagination was taking over my entire thought process. I created a world that somehow formed whilst I was chucking down some blocks on a tower in Minecraft, and over the following months that developed into heroes and villains, cities and mysterious places, journeys and disasters. It got to a point where I wasn't sleeping much because I kept thinking of new things that could happen within the world and instead of closing my eyes I was writing notes. So, then I wrote up a draft of bullet points for one of the tales within the world and it already had characters, a conflict, a beginning, a middle, and an end. So I thought why not? I've been writing for several months now and I'm approaching 100k words, but now that I've found an outlet for my imagination, my reasons for writing have changed a bit. I guess it would be great if it was a popular story (and if nothing else then I'll certainly self-publish it), but one of my main motivations right now is that I like the idea of my own children or grandchildren of the future pick it up and read it and become inspired too. If I ever make any money from it, that will be an added bonus (probably £2.99 or whatever currency Scotland gets if Independence changes things :p )

    Once I finish the story my motivations might change again (I've already come up with lots of ideas for two or more full stories in the same world).
     
  16. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I remember reading about swedish crime writer Camilla Läckberg losing her job and deciding she would make a career out of writing. And so she did. We all know how it went. I think if you reeeaally want to do something and you have a plan about how to succeed, anything is possible. It doesn't happen very often, no, but it's definitely not impossible. Make sure you know exactly how to go about and set up goals and deadlines for yourself. Be 100% determined. There's little we can't do if we really put our mind to it. :)
     

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