For Love or Money: Why can’t you have both?

While my plumbing issues are being resolved, let me get back on track with my blog about publishing, and all the fun and not so fun experiences into self-publishing … and a bit of self-discovery along the way.

Years ago, before my grandfather passed away (because it would be quite odd if my beloved grandfather spoke to me while he was deceased), he told me to find a career that I loved, because I would spend  the greater part of my life there, and I should look forward to being there.  Otherwise, my job would be my prison, and I would never be happy.  Of course, as my grandfather, he wanted me to not only succeed financially, but also in personal and emotional well-being.  He was a very wise man.

So here I am, two decades later, pondering his words.  Which only lends to the fact that words are timeless … I write words … therefore writers are timeless.  There goes my theory on needing some cosmetic surgery soon.  Recently, I have come across several blogs, Facebook posts, Twitter thoughts, and general conversations in which a writer will say, “I’m doing it for the love of writing.  Not the money.”  My face usually scrunches up like I just ingested a juicy lemon.  You all know the face.  We laugh when babies do it at their first taste of a lemon.  Well, I do that face.  Why? Because when I go back and read previous blogs, posts, or delve deeper into a conversation I hear the exact same thing, “I don’t know why my sales aren’t higher.  I can tried every marketing strategy and publicity stunt imaginable.”  They have used free promotions, giveaways, called every friend, and spammed every social media site they belong to.  And, like me, they do a daily stats check.

With so much work going into making sales, I wonder if writing is purely for the love of writing? Now, I have been very honest in declaring to the public that I would not scoff at making a million.  Case in point, I tried my hand at the Mega Millions last night, and I rarely gamble hard earned money.  And as a nurse it truly is “hard earned” money.  Well, I didn’t win! But I thought, what would I do with $400 million (estimated cash payout).  Would I quit my job? Abso-freaken-lutely! I mean, you have to ask? But I wouldn’t stop writing, because I would have the financial backing to write full-time.  Then, and only then, would I be able to say that I write for the love of writing.  But until then, I write because I love to write and it brings me great joy, comfort, and a sense of accomplishment and internal zen, but it takes a back seat to the job that pays the bills … the one I enjoy, but can’t say I love in comparison to writing.  So I do write for the love of it, but still hope that my love brings me financial compensation so I can do it full-time.

I have said before that I do not need to be a Mega Millionare and deal with the problems that the root of all evil brings. What I want is to be able to pay my bills on time, be debt free, send my kid to college, and have money put away for a rainy day (as in raining through the first floor ceiling in a two story house …  😦    ).  Does that make me a bad person? After reading other things and talkin with people who say they do it for the love ONLY, I feel like a complete heel for wanting to make some income off my interest.

One person was appalled at my revelation and clearly stated the fact that artists work purely for the love of their art.  So what you are saying is that if one is endowed with the great talent of having an artistic ability, they should perform their art strictly for the love of it.  So that’s how they came up with the term, “Starving artist.” I get it.

My rebuttal: So why do paintings sell for thousands of dollars

Frienemy: Because they have given in to the power of the all mighty dollar

My rebuttal: Do you love what you do?

Frienemy: Of course.

My rebuttal: So why don’t you do it for free?

Frienemy: I’m providing a public service to very ill people

My rebuttal: So that makes you a servant to the public? So why do you make so much money? As a person who definitely has an infinity (oh, I get wordy when trying to make a point) for their job, who can be considered a master of their (air quote) art, then aren’t you giving in to the all mighty dollar?

Friend (see how that has changed): I hope you make a million.

In closing: I hope you all continue to do what you love, whether it be nursing, singing, gardening, public service, or writing.  And I truly hope that what you love brings you happiness, but that you can also live comfortably (I didn’t say driving a Lambo, unless comfortable for you is Italian engineering) doing exactly what you love.  I hereby give all artists permission to not only do what they love for the love of it, but to also be able to say, “I’d like to be able to make a living off it, too.”  Now I gotta go check my site stats.

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5 responses to “For Love or Money: Why can’t you have both?

  1. I salute all who can make a living, support themselves with their particular art. And for reasons I don’t need to examine, that doesn’t happen to be my goal–though I suspect it has to do with not needing to volunteer for any extra stress/pressure in life. Wishing you and your family a most blessed Easter Week, Tania!

    • i do know one person who writes for the love of writing but has firmly stated she doesn’t want the hassle of deadlines, editors, people telling her what she can and can not say, attorneys..etc…She also doesn’t publish, though. I’ve read her works, which are amazing, and wonder why on earth she wouldn’t want to share it with the world? I’m trying to convince her to blog as a happy medium, but she says she’s happy to simply wake up and write in her journal. I don;t understand, but that’s just me, and I do not mess with people’s happiness. So for you wonderful people who write as a hobby or simply to have inner peace, then I say, “do what makes you happy.” Making my garden beautiful brings me joy, but I’d never ever ever try and do it professionally…so maybe i do understand.

  2. I’m a writer and artist. I love writing. But I think I love more the act of expression and thinking out loud perhaps. I agree with your post, and with the lemon face. Many like to say “art for art’s sake” But, I would be lying if I said that I didn’t hope to make a living while doing something I love. I’ve written as a freelancer for the past 5 years, and though I can say I make a living at it, it is tiresome to write other for other people all the time; being less creative and explorative. Its a constant hustle. Hopefully I’ll land that mega-bestseller one day and live in Maine next to Stephen 🙂

    • Thank you for your reply. I’m not at all condemning people who write or paint or dance or anything for the love of it. I do things for the love of it. I rode a a skateboard for years for the love, but knew I was never going to be a professional female skateboarder. My observation was simply that some people say they do it for the “love and not money,” but work so hard at promotion, marketing, and advertising. I only want people to know that it is okay to want be able to make a living off their art. I have been told by people that I should try and find a writing job: newspaper, freelance, etc…but I am with you in that it is not the same as writing what is in your head, not writing the topic someone lays out on the table. I failed every english class from junior high through high school, because I didn’t want to write about butterflies, rainbows, and congress. I aced creative writing, poetry, journalism, and creative writing two, along with screenplay class. There is something to be said about writing what means the most to a writer.

      • I totally agree! Best of luck to you with your writing pursuits. I will soon be joining the ranks of indie authors myself, just shortly after I kill myself during this editing process..

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