“I don’t want to take up literature in a money-making spirit, or be very anxious about making large profits, but selling it at a loss is another thing altogether, and an amusement I cannot well afford.” — Lewis Carroll
There’s a woman I’m friendly with. She’s smart, creative, and yet I cannot get behind her book endeavors. Why? Because she’s only in it for the money. I never feel as if she cares about her readers or how her words will impact them. On the other hand, I know writers who tell me it’s not about the money in any way, shape, or form. I feel equally disturbed by this reaction. It says, “I don’t care if my message or story ever goes out into the world.” I’m not sure I really believe them anyway. It feels like a cop out to me–as if they’re saying it’s just fine to fail to engage people in their work.
That’s why I love this quote by Lewis Carroll. It seems to be the perfect balance of sense and cents-ibility. I don’t want to be obsessed by making money (it’s not the main reason I write); but I don’t want to ignore that making money is an essential part of the process for me. I want people to buy my books, read them, and feel they have received excellent value. I want to be able to support myself as a writer.
So here’s what I suggest: Write a list of 100 reasons you write. Yup, you read it right: 100! Don’t worry if you repeat certain things, it’ll just reveal what you really value. Once your list is complete, take a while to reflect on it. What motivates you as a writer? You will probably find it’s a complex mix of things, ranging from a passion to express yourself to a need to support yourself. And that’s a good thing.
Want to share your list with us?