If you want to make a lot of money selling books, don’t bother reading any further.
I’m not on any bestseller list, though my writing has won recognition and awards. I don’t really care whether I sell a lot of books or not. I’m not in it for the money or the fame.
If you’re a writer just starting out, or maybe you’ve been writing for quite awhile but you’re looking for some inspiration, you’ve lost your mojo, or you’re adrift without a breeze in the Sargasso Sea, my advice is to write whatever the hell you want to. Write the book YOU want to read. Write the book that only YOU can. Be a leader, not a follower. Do what you love, the money will follow – or not. These maxims have stuck with me over the decades that I have been a writer. Following your heart and being true to yourself won’t make you rich but it will make you a better writer if you concentrate on discovering the art and learning the craft of writing.
Market-driven production of consumable words doesn’t appeal to me. I write what I must, what I’m driven to write, what amuses me. Do I want readers? Of course I want readers but not at any expense. The reason I write is to understand. To express life as I experience it. I write to write better.
Writing is an art form — bumbling and imperfect — but it is more than a product to be dictated by voracious readers hungry for entertainment. Writing is a way of life, an on-going discovery, a way to experience past, future, and parallel lives.
This is very sage advice Linda. If one doesn’t feel like this they’ll never get the first one finished – and in the meantime, don’t give up the day job! Not only does it bring in the necessary money but a career, a job – any career, any job – provides invaluable insights and inspiration on a continuous basis. So much academic or literary fiction seems bloodless because one has the feeling that the writers have never had to face really hard choices on a day-in, day-out basis.
A wonderful post, Linda. I, too, think it’s the only way to write. It also fits in with my general way of being in the world, sort of I am what I am! I find this attitude very freeing and only worry about important things like my punctuation and spelling! And I have this fondness for exclamation points and run-on sentences. I am enjoying your travels with Redfeather Take care on the road!