There are as many answers to these questions as there are authors but I think most authors can be broadly divided into two camps – the ones whose answers mention money and success a lot and those that don’t. I am one of the writers who does not mention money as a motivator – don’t get me wrong, I am not criticising those who do nor am I saying I wouldn’t like to be able to make a living doing what I love but it is not my key motivation.
If you go looking for advice about writing on the internet you are likely to find a lot about maximising sales and how you too can make thousands of dollars a month by just following some simple tips. The truth is that if you want to make a living writing your best bet is to work hard, put in the time writing anything and everything that makes money – magazine articles, novels in fashionable genres, non-fiction, anything you can sell. If you work at it hard enough, write enough and sell it well you stand a chance of making a living at it. Don’t let anyone criticise you for doing it either, if it works for you then go for it.
If you want to make a fortune as a fiction writer with work you genuinely believe in, the works of fiction you love and have carefully crafted and poured your heart and soul into, then your best bet may be prayer to your deity of choice. The truth is that this only happens for a tiny minority of writers. It would be marvelous if it would happen for all of us but the reality is that it probably won’t.
So, if you can’t make a lot of money or be offensively rich and famous, if you can’t even make a living at it then why bother? Simple. Because you are a writer. It is something you are, not something you do. Even the people who seem to be writing anything they can to make money are doing it because they love writing, they are just more felxible about what they are willing to write.
Sure, if you are like me then the books you publish will not be much in the way of sales and even your free downloads won’t be anything to get over excited about. However, if you would be writing them anyway you might as well publish them online – it is free to do and gives you a new hobby, checking download numbers, which will give you a few days of joy and many days of self doubt. Of course, if you are a writer self doubt is an old friend so you’ll enjoy that.
Why do I write? Largely because I can’t stop myself, I am writing stories in my head all the time so I sometimes have to force them out onto the page.
What are my goals as a writer? To keep writing, it is just that simple.