Because You Have To!

Write because you have a story that you need to share. Write because you are funny and want to brighten people’s day with your humor. Write because you have a talent for it and to waste that talent would be a crime. Write because you have to.

But don’t write because you think you’re going to get rich.

There are writers who do make millions of dollars from their work. And there are many who sell books because they are well known celebrities or politicians. But for the vast majority making a living from writing alone is just a dream. It’s something to strive for, but not something to assume you’ll achieve just by publishing a book or two.

One fellow joined an online writing group and ranted his experience to the rest of the group. He’d written his first book in a month and had self-published it in three months. He complained that he had waited a whole month and the TV networks hadn’t approached him yet to offer him a deal. Can you imagine? The poor fellow wasted four months and didn’t have so much as a Lincoln Continental to show for it!

Very few of the writers I have met over the years earn enough money to make writing a full-time job. It takes time to build a following.

One novelist who now sells a million books each year, couldn’t get a book deal; so she decided to self-publish. She’d earned next to nothing for her first couple of books, but she didn’t give up. Although her sales were modest in the beginning, she’d received enough positive feedback to know that some people enjoyed reading her books. That was enough to convince her to keep at it.

If you’re not a celebrity, your first step is to write a damn good book. And when you’re done with that, you need to write another one. Measure your success by the people you touch with your writing, not by the number of dollars or euros you put in the bank, and maybe someday you can quit your day job and write fulltime. Maybe you’ll even get that Lincoln.

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