I often hear writers say that they write as an artistic expression, not for money. Usually this occurs when an editor or agent suggests that he/she make a few changes to the novel in order to make it saleable. Writing as art is bullshit. No one writes so that their perfect, artistic prose can be sealed away in a fireproof vault only to be discovered centuries later when futuristic hover-backhoes stumble upon it while digging a new sewer line for nuclear waste.
Writing is for an audience. Writing is meant to be read. So don’t hide behind the excuse that someone will steal your idea (they won’t, they all think their ideas are much better) or that the masses just won’t understand you (they will), or that your words are too valuable to be besmirched by being read by a refinery worker in Galveston, Texas with an 8th grade education and a drinking problem (they aren’t.. and paper is cheap.. Have you seen that sale on paper going on at OfficeMax this week?)
You write for money. You secretly wish that the handwritten manuscript stuffed in that cardboard box under your bed will become the next Harry Potter series, or the next Da Vinci Code or Bridges of Madison County (yuk) and make you rusty green dumptster-fuls of cash that you can then spend for a Scottish castle next door to the legendary, one-named rock icon: Sting.
You write in the hopes of being able to one day quit your job at the bread factory, the Fortune 500 financial services company, the Federal Department of Cowland Security, and live off of the royalties generated by your mighty backlist of books. You write in order to make sure that you can keep your 70 cats in kibble and kitty litter for one more month.
Don’t get me wrong. Writers gotta write for the love of writing. You gotta love something that would make the most jaded accountants weep when they attempt to calculate your hourly rate. (Take total amount of cash earned from your writing and divide it into the number of hours spent writing, re-writing, searching for an agent or finding a client, waiting for rejections, then rewriting the novel once again upon the request of an agent…) In other words, don’t calculate your hourly wage with any sharp objects nearby… or blunt objects… Just push this thought out of your head for now and forever. Trust me it’s better that way.
You have to LOVE writing to subject yourself to endless inquiries about when you are going to get a real job bagging groceries at the Piggly Wiggly, face off with internet trolls who target you because the picture on your Twitter profile makes you look particularly handsome/beautiful and they are jealous, and suffer through the weird old guy who wants you to read his vanity pressed 700 page opus that smells like cat piss from sitting on a pallet of identical books in his garage too long.
You write because you love it and there is nothing that you’d rather do with your free-time. You do it because it is exciting and pushes you to your creative limits. But make no mistake about it: You write to be read. You write to make money.
And that is what this blog is all about: Writing fast and making bucket-loads of cash to get you by one more week… to allow you to feed your addiction just a little while longer; until the phone rings with your next paying commercial writing project, the next acceptance letter with a modest check arrives, or that email appears in your in-box complimenting you on your work and how it made that reader’s life better in some small way.
So get back to work. Write fast and make money.
If you missed part 1 of this updated manifesto, check it out here: Updated Flash Writing Manifesto – Part 1: Write Fast