It feels like forever since my last post but I don't want to simply do a stop-gap until I can write something better, so I'm going to write the best thing I can at this point in time.
Here it goes!
“I don't want to get rich writing, but make a living. To make a living I must work like I want to get rich.”
I feel like that is a powerful statement. I don't like when people act like writers shouldn't get paid. That is discouraging and illogical. A writer has the same right to payment as does a plumber, a doctor, and a teacher. And yet I'm equally put off by fortune and fame. I have absolutely no desire to be well-known, and certainly not rich.
Perhaps this is a contradiction, and perhaps not. “You mean to say you want to write books for a living, in obscurity?”
Yes. I would love to make a living doing what I love, be able to communicate and interact with peers, readers, and friends, and avoid the pitfalls that so often come with fortune and fame. It may be too much to ask, and it may even be unreasonable, but If in years to come I've only accomplished enough to pay my bills, buy a few nice guitars, take my woman to Europe, and keep my children reasonably fed, I'd be over the moon.
What am I asking for? $20,000 a year writing down things that come to my mind (not a lot, but hey, the woman is college educated, she'll always out-earn me!). I don't want the millions of dollars authors like Stephen King, Anne Rice, and J. K. Rowling have made. I don't want to change the world. I don't want to have my face on every news channel if I'm ever struck by a van. I certainly don't want people talking about my religious views.
But there is a problem. If I want to make even a few thousand dollars a year as a professional author, I have to work as if I want the whole damn pie. That's right, I'll have to work like I want to make millions, just to get by.
Shooting for goals is a lot like shooting for guns. If a target is far off in the distance, you must take gravity into account and aim higher than your target. In writing this means that even if I'll be satisfied making only a little more than I would working a full-time, minimum wage job, I must act as though I want to make millions of dollars, win awards, and as Mayor Vaughn once said, “Love to prove that, wouldn't ya? Get your name into the National Geographic.”
In way just saying it takes a bit of weight off of my shoulders. A million dollars a year is absurd. Only a few authors ever reach that pinnacle, and from my point of view, something like that can be filed under “It happens to other people, not to me.”
It also puts my real goal into perspective. It's nothing compared to what is over the rainbow, on the far side of success. So in reality it's not really that much to wrap my head around. Right now the number is about at 50, but 20,000 is closer to 50 than it is to 1,000,000!
I'm asking for a lot more than I'm worth, right?
Yes, and that's not a bad thing. Setting the price high and working down shows intelligence. If I act like I want a million bucks, even if I never get it, I'll still get a lot more than if I acted like I am content with a little; if I had started the bidding off where I hoped to be.
The question then becomes “What does a writer who thinks he's worth a million bucks act like?”
Let me think about it and I'll get back to you...