Why writers keep writing when the money’s not coming in.

I like to see a healthy bank balance as much as the next person, but…

I like to see a healthy bank balance as much as the next person, but I’ve figured that for me, writing is definitely not for the $$$. There must be a reason. In fact, there are lots of reasons. Here are ten of them and there are probably more.

Being a member of a writer’s tribe

I have made so many wonderful friends in the writing world, friends I would otherwise not have had. Writers understand one another and since I set out on my writer’s journey after giving up my various day jobs, these friendships have enriched my life experience immeasurably.

2. Creativity with words gives me purpose and joy.

I agree with whoever it was that said something like ‘playing with words is the best fun adults can have.’ Writing gives me joy and a sense of purpose.   

3. The written word is powerful.

Like Egyptian hieroglyphics, words are fundamentally squiggles on a page. I can magically connect with people I have never met via these squiggles, AKA words written in the English language. How amazing.

4. Achievement

I love the sense of achievement gained from writing a story that others will enjoy. Sure it is a lot of work to write between 70 and 100 thousand decent words. Writing a book is a marathon, possibly akin to having a baby, complete with morning sickness (what the heck is this thing about?), doubts, (it’s crap, no one will want to read it), and exhaustion towards the end. (I’ll never get this thing out). I give it a name and the best cover I can afford, upload my novel to Amazon and finally hold the first printed copy in my hands. It’s not dissimilar to holding a newborn in my arms. Others ‘oo’ and ‘ah.’ The pain was worth it.

5. Writing lets me bring our forebears’ lives to life.

 Although the characters I describe are imaginary, by researching my story I can imagine what their lives might have been like – then I draw word images for my readers. What fun!

6. Writing a book is a challenge and I can leave out the boring bits.

Through research, I learn the history and events of the time my story is set. My fiction must take place within the bounds of that time frame and the social environment needs to be realistic and believable. It’s a challenge. Writing historical fiction is an excellent way to bring history to life. Plus I can leave out the boring bits. You couldn’t do that at school.

7. A legacy

My stories are a legacy for my family once I’ve gone. The world has changed immeasurably within my lifetime, especially for women. Since my novels can be classified as women’s fiction I want my grandchildren to read about the lives of women in the past.

8. A confidence booster

Who knew I could write a book? Sir Edmund Hilary couldn’t be sure he could climb to the highest peak of Mount Everest until he did it with sherpa Tenzing Norgay in May 1953. Hundreds of others have followed in their footsteps. Early female writers like Jane Austen forged a path for others to follow. You don’t know you can do something until you try. Even my dear Mum would have been surprised. Writing boosts my confidence.

9. I’m a writer

Writing has helped me learn more about myself. It is a creative endeavor and I believe we all need to find a way to express our creativity. Writing is part of who I am. Time may be short and that makes writing urgent.

       10. I haven’t given up on the money

Some writers do well from their books.

They say to do what you love and the money will come.

You never know, the money might come