Ever try to go out onto the internet to look for writing advice? Sweet yeesus bejeezus. You see it all over the place. It’s like a feeding frenzy out there of chummy sharks offering all kinds of offers to make you rich, for a small up front charge:
- Make money writing! Buy my book and I’ll show you how I clear 6 figures from home just sitting on a chaise lounge and sipping French press while getting a shoulder massage and the best mani/pedi money can buy!
- Want to publish that book? Hire me! I’m a writing/editing/publishing coach with a proven track record of total awesomeness! I will fix your boring old book and turn it into gold overnight! I’ll get it in the right hands and you’ll be an overnight sensation! All for just $99!
Writers! Just…. Eeearrrgh! Do we honestly believe that the world of writing success is some gated community behind wrought iron gates, and all we have to do to get in is to learn the secret knock from some book available online for $19.99? Does it really seem possible that you can give somebody money to read all your hard work and then have them, in their infinite wisdom, “fix” it for you?
Wanting to make money by doing what you’re good at is perfectly natural. And if you can do it, you totally should! But if someone pops up on your shoulder and whispers into your ear that they can help you get into the club for a small fee, it’s bogus! That small fee gets inflated quickly, and soon you could find yourself having spent hundreds of dollars on how-to books and online writing coaches and seminars. And you’ll most likely be nowhere nearer to success. Writing and publishing takes time – your own time. It takes a lot of work, and a lot of learning, and a lot of being involved with the community. It’s a lifestyle. And even then, you could devote years to your craft and still not be anywhere near being published.
Which is totally OKAY! You’re not supposed to make money writing, and you know it! At least, that’s not why you started doing it in the first place. You started doing it because you had something in your head and you wanted to see it on paper. You had a story, or a thought, or an experience, or even just a voice, and you needed to put it into words. You sat in your bedroom in high school and you jammed tunes and furiously wrote the next Leaves of Grass. Or you sat in a coffee shop and invented characters for your sci-fi/fantasy epic based on all the crazy weirdos that walked by. Or you lay down in the field behind your high school with the sun on your arms and a flower in your hair and you just wrote about your day. That’s the beauty of it, the heart of it. That’s why we write. So please, by all means, make an extra buck or two if you can, and feel free to drop some cash on a book that tells you you’re sure to make a million after reading it. Maybe you will, and that would be awesome!! But don’t let it get you down if you don’t. It’s not important. What is important is that you remember why you started writing in the first place, and don’t ever let go of it!