I took a creative writing class about a dozen years ago. One of those Parks & Rec night classes at a local high school. Right after introductions to about twenty eager faces, the instructor announced that “you cannot make money doing this.”
Stunned, we were.
I mean, yeah, we love to write, but a little something for our efforts would be nice, too. Obviously, guys like Stephen King and Clive Cussler have simply bucked the trend. Perhaps they were unfairly advantaged. Born with a silver Strunk & White in their chubby little hands.
You know what? You can’t make money in any business. It’s a fact. No matter what you majored in in college, you’ll be dirt poor. Unless, of course, you work hard. But ain’t nobody got time for that, right?
Wrong-o. Those of you who know me also know that I’m a strict conservative. No handouts. The best motivator in the world is starvation. Let that, my friends, be your motivation.
Even if you are independently wealthy and never flipped houses, pretend that your very survival depends on these-words-you-are-typing-right-now. Crap. There’s a buck twenty-five I’ll never get back.
But I’m only serious. What if you needed to sell your books if you wanted food, shelter, Apple TV?
Know what I think? Here’s my conspiracy theory of the week. No, not the one with the NSA cameras imbedded in my cat’s left eye, that was last week (though, really, that eye NEVER moves with the other one…just sayin’). This week’s conspiracy theory is that some individuals, not all, but some have perpetuated this myth of writer poverty because that–say it with me, class–
LOWERS YOUR EXPECTATIONS.
If you’ve constantly been bombarded with “You write because you love to, not because you want to make money,” then that’s what you’ll do. You have to disconnect your brain, mind you, and forget that Henry Ford probably LOVED to build cars and also made money.
Wait…what? I can do BOTH?
That’s right, bachelorette number three, you can have dinner and your dignity. Or, in our case, days on end of telling lies and getting paid for it! And you never even had to run for office.
Here’s the little truth to counter the Big Lie: if you are passionate about something and work hard, you will make money.
For you math types: P + HW = $$$
I suspect it’s the HW that gets most of us. The funny thing about hard work is, you’re never done with it. And you never know if your hard work is ever going to pay off. Old Henry lost his investment over and over again. Ford Motor Company was his tenth attempt, if I remember correctly. What if he’d given up after nine? Yes, I know, fewer cars on the shoulder. Haha.
But think about it. Do you believe you’ll be a successful, full-time writer if you simply keep going? Writing every day. Learning. Getting better.
You don’t fail. You just quit.
I’ve said it a million times on this blog (remember, paid liar), I would rather waste three hours a night trying to get this right than lay on my death bed and regret never having tried.
But I believe I will be successful. And I believe Gina will be, too. And so will everyone who is passionate and working hard and loving every minute of it.
So forget the lie. That creative writing instructor is probably drowning his sorrows in a bottle of Barefoot Pinot Noir and watching Lifetime. Me, I’ll finish this and get back to work. Yeah, it’s Sunday. The Normals are watching football or whatever. Know what I love much more than football? Making stories. And maybe, just maybe mind you, I can do what I love and get paid to do it.
Care to join me?