How I’m trying to see writing…

This entry is part 9 of 13 in the series Shifting Tides

I feel like, if you want to succeed, you kind of have to see writing as a combination of a hobby and a business.  A business because you’re trying to make money.  You want to produce a product that is high quality, something a consumer will want to buy.  But I feel like you also have to treat it like a hobby because you need to forget about breaking even.  Most authors are never going to break even, let alone make a living at it.

I say this because I frequently find myself torn between wanting to do things right and wanting to do things cheap.  With a business, you might cut corners to turn a profit.  With a hobby, you’d never do that.  The journey and the destination are just too important.

Give you an example.  I am also a photographer.  I love photography.  I also sell photography, but I have yet to make any sort of profit on it.  For me, spending $700 on a camera, $900 on lenses (well I don’t remember exactly how much they cost, but it was a lot), $100 on various types of mat board, and on and on, is no big deal.  I don’t mind spending it because I enjoy all the steps.  I like taking photographs, loved when I got my new telephoto lens a few years back (even if it did cost be about 500 bucks).  I like matting prints, making magnets, note cards, and bookmarks.  I enjoy hanging with my family at festivals, trying to sell and knowing I won’t, especially not in this economy.

As for writing, I found it freeing when I started trying to treat it more like a hobby than a business.  I didn’t see book covers as as much of an expense because I saw it a lot like buying art.  I mean, I spent $100 for that big painting on my wall, what’s one or two hundred for cover art?  I also didn’t mind spending money on a website when I got exactly what I wanted.  I love how my site looks now.  It feels cleaner, brighter, and I really like WordPress (even if it fights me at times).  It was worth it to me because, in the past, I’ve spent far more on hobbies I spent far less time enjoying.

And, really, writing is a labor of love.  You do it because you want to.  Most authors have second jobs, can’t make a living at it.  And that’s okay.  Enjoy what you’re doing.  Maybe someday I’ll be able to dump the day job but, until then, I’m going to do what I love and not worry about the expense.

Photo credit: Susan NYC / Foter.com / CC BY

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