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Monday, November 8, 2010

If you are writing for money...then go chop wood

Read a  piece about the miserable existence of writers recently. It had the usual stats about how writers don't make any money. Twain used to say that if you couldn't make money writing then go chop wood. Sound advice for his time. But times are not so different. Writers have never made real money and if you are looking for money then quit writing. Your only chance is to write what you believe in and accept the fact you may never make a nickel, then you will be truly free and ready for anything.

Writers don't make a lot  of money but that is not why people become writers. The question I used to get when I was unpublished and working as a janitor, security guard, waiter, construction worker is why do you write. Answer--I write because I am driven to do it. That's about it. Writers are just writers. They don't choose to be a writer. It is how they see the world, the way they think, the way they live. A lot of people look at writing as a career and I get that. But that is not what it is about.

Writers write because they want to say something that has not been said before. They want to leave something behind for all time. They want to crack the nut of existence. Maybe they just want to tell a good story. There are lots of reasons why someone would sit in a storage room at night and hack out short stories on a cold winter night, but money is not one of them. Yes writers want fame and money but that is not why they write. They write because we are here, we are alive, and someone has to tell our story. It might as well be a writer.
William Hazelgrove's latest novel is Rocket Man due out in January

Books by William Hazelgrove