It Can’t Be About The Money

I had a conversation with a friend the other day who has been struggling to get work.  They finally have a project to work on, but it’s been so long since they had a good project that they’re screwing it up.

How?  By focusing on the money.  If they do well on the first part of this project it could turn into a long-term deal worth a lot more.

The best approach to this would be to knock it out of the park.  Do good, solid work and prove their value.

But they want that “more” so much that they’re rushing their way through the first part of the project hoping to get to that extra money sooner.

I’ve quoted Pitbull before: “Scared money don’t make money.”

No matter how much you need money, you can’t act out of desperation.  You can’t let that need for money drive your actions.

What does this mean for a writer?

It means you can’t rush work out the door just to get paid.

It means you can’t force a novel just to make a deadline.

It means you can’t chase trends in the hope of being the next breakout hit.

One, if you phone it in, it will show in your writing.

Write a genre you can’t stand?  It will show.

Writing in a style or a voice that isn’t yours?  Your writing will look uneven because you won’t be able to maintain that style or voice forever.

Also, writing is a long con.  It takes years to build an audience and reputation and any half-assing you do will tarnish your ability to make a living over the long haul.

Plus, when it becomes about money, it becomes a slog.  Every day becomes a struggle.

Who wants to spend their life doing something they hate just to make money?

Because, trust me on this, if you spend ten to twelve hours a day on something you can’t stand it won’t matter if you get to spend two hours a day doing something you love.

Spend two hours on something you hate to spend ten on something you love, okay, fine.  That works.

But the other way around?  No.

It’s nice to make money.  And I will freely admit that earning enough to have basic creature comforts is worth some sacrifices.  But there are always other options.

Look for the better solution.  Look for the option that lets you do something you love and still pays you money.  Find the passion first, the money will follow.

About M. H. Lee

M.H. Lee is a speculative fiction writer currently residing in Colorado whose stories are sometimes dark, sometimes funny, sometimes darkly funny, but hopefully always thought-provoking and entertaining.
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