Writing is a deeply personal act. Everything else on this website, and in the podcast, will talk to you about craftsmanship, about your character’s transformations and your own as an author. About pulling your reader in and not letting them eat or sleep until they’ve finished the book you’ve written.
You’ll hear us sign off with it almost every episode: write selfishly.
But with that mandate, we ask so much courage from you. To expose the deepest parts of your heart. Expose the things you even keep secret from yourself. The best stories even teach their authors about themselves. It’s a journey of growth for all parties involved.
As an author, there comes a moment when you must choose if you want to monetize your art. Monetize a part of your soul. You’re putting yourself on display with your writing. It’s a fact of life: if you monetize it (whatever “it” is) then people will criticize it. You will be criticized for it.
The other option is to keep it secret; keep it safe. Never let it out of the box. If no one knows, then no one will think worse of you for it, right? Most writers actually fall into this category. They write for their own entertainment, and that’s enough. They may have a blog, or never even type up what they write. That’s okay.
I’ll say it again: that’s okay.
There is no shame in writing solely for yourself. I say to those of you that have chosen this path: write selfishly. Write freely. Keep writing, and don’t ever stop.
“But what! Isn’t the whole point of writing to make money?”
If that’s your question, I’d in turn ask you to examine why you’re writing at all. If you’re looking for a paycheck, there are plenty of other – easier and less painful – ways to make a living.
Writing is a calling. Many people know from a young age that they’re bound to be a storyteller. Others discover it later in life. Whatever your journey is, it’s up to you to take it.
Writers are a special breed. We don’t just experience the world, we see it for the truth behind the facade. There’s something chewing away at our hearts, and it only relaxes when we let it free with a pen or keyboard.
Once you hand your work to others, you’re vulnerable. It’s inevitably painful. There will be heartbreak. Agony. A raw exposure of your soul that makes you question why you didn’t just become an accountant.
But there’s a joy in sharing your work with others. In knowing that they giggled at your joke, or wept at the same part of the story that brought you to tears when you wrote it. A true, contented warmth in knowing your offerings helped someone escape a terribly mundane reality.
As someone interested in monetizing their art, you need to have that conversation with yourself. Do you really want to put yourself out there? For sale, in that way, for the sake of your story?
If the answer’s yes, you need to sign that contract in your soul before publishing.
The choice is yours.