So, I've never seen this movie...but it has a really young Michael J. Fox in it...and the right title!

I recently attempted to write a science fiction story – something of a mistake.  Not that writing science fiction is bad, but that I was attempting to write the story for the sole purpose of entering a contest.  So, the question it comes down to is ‘Do I write for love or for money?’

I would love to make money from my writing.  I have made a little, but only a little.  However, the question of import is: am I willing, or capable, of forcing out a decent story just to earn a buck and some praise?  The answer that I have come to is no, I’m not.  Simply put, I can write the stories I want to write, the ones that matter to me, and I think that I can write them reasonably well, but I can’t write a story that I don’t care about.  I learned that through this experiment.

Writing always becomes work – eventually.  Even when you care deeply about a story there are times when you just don’t feel like writing, times when you have to sit down and force yourself to figure out what comes next, times when you trudge through a section of the story that you just aren’t that interested in.  If you give up when you get to these points, then you never finish your story and you never get to tell the parts you do love.

I'm going to have to say: Love.

However, if there isn’t any part of the story that you’re in love with, then you have to ask yourself if you should be telling that story in the first place.  This is the problem I ran into.  I came up with a character that I thought was interesting, and a fairly generic story that I thought would appeal, but I didn’t care about any of it.  There wasn’t anything that truly captured my imagination, or settled in my heart and compelled me to keep writing.  Finally I got to the point where I was forcing out everything, and I realized that even I didn’t think it was any good.  Again, every author is going to have moments when he thinks his writing is crap.  I have days where I read some of my best work and can’t stand it.  Then, I have days when I read my worst work and think its amazing.  You shouldn’t believe yourself on either of those days.

I know there are some people out there that write for money.  They can force out a story out even when they have no particular care for it.  Maybe someday I’ll get there.  It would be a nice place to stay for a while, but I’m not there yet.  So my advice – the purpose of my post: As my mother always tells me, ‘The best authors have stories they have to tell.’  If I am not willing to write for nothing, for the love, then I need to give up and walk away.

2 thoughts on “For Love or Money

  1. i guess you can always do both. you’re right though, that at some point writing becomes work and you are forced to make the choice of either coming up with something or just stopping and giving it a rest. i don’t think there’s anything wrong with writing for money, as long as you write something that’s worth the money. at least that’s what my personal opinion is because i’m aspiring to one day make a living out of my blog. i’m not sure if that will ever happen, but i’m willing to work towards that goal. best of luck to your writing and thanks for posting!

    1. I’ll agree that there’s definitely nothing wrong with writing for money, and I hope to one day make a living off of my writing as well. However, what I came down to is that if money is the only reason that I’m writing something – I need to find something else to write.

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