Money Has Nothing To Do With Writing

If you have a way to pay the bills while you launch yourself into writing, that’s great. If it leaves you real time for writing, even better.

Here’s a reality check for you. It’s long and of dubious interest to anyone but me. But I’m a writer; that’s what I do.

Six years ago my wife/business partner/reason for living almost died. (It’s a whole book in itself.) Then the company I worked for shut down, boom. So, my “side business” which she mostly operated was all we had, and she couldn’t walk from the bedroom to our dining room office.

I had to get from zero to 60 instantly. Nah, it wasn’t zero. I had to provide full-time care for my wife, make sure our 2-year-old wasn’t forgotten, deal with a 17-year-old step-daughter, and still live indoors and eat occasionally.

Over the past 6 years, not only has my wife recovered beyond what we could have hoped for (most folks never even realize she was ever sick) but we’ve gone from her half-million-dollar medical costs (not my hole, someone else filled it in, but I still had to look at the bills) to the point where we’re about to pay off our van and have a nickel left over at the end of the month instead of being a nickel short every month.

During the past 4 years, I’ve written and published 10 books, mostly non-fiction, but one mystery, and I’m working on a few more. (Also wrote most of my 150+ songs during this whole period.)

I take a lotta flak for saying this but my example, my life shows that I believe it: money has nothing to do with writing.

Do not write because you want money.

Do not not write because you don’t have money.

Don’t choose what you do because it allows you to write, or doesn’t allow you to not write, or any other twisted combination.

Do not base your choice to write or not write on anything, ANYTHING, except this:

Can you NOT write? If you can go a day and say nah, I don’t care that I didn’t write today; there’s always tomorrow, then, don’t bother. You’ll just frustrate yourself and burn a whole lotta time you could have been earning toward early retirement to somewhere beautiful.

On the other hand, if you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t go back to bed until you write that down; if you interrupt people who are telling you something important so you can jot notes about a story; if you burn and ache and cry and fidget to squeeze out one more word that moves your story forward, not because you can sell it but because you can’t not write, then don’t let anything stop you.

Which you don’t need me to tell you, because you already know that.

(One aspiring writer used the phrase “normal weekly routine” in their description of what they wanted from life as a professional writer. Accountants have a “normal weekly routine.” Some professional writers even have a normal weekly routine, once they’re making a paycheck from a publishing company, magazine, or whatever. Folks like you and I only have one routine: steal time from everything but your family to write. That’s the routine.)

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