Do You Make Money Writing?


Recently, I read this short article in E. Hope Clark’s newsletter Funds for Writers (from her Funds for Writers website where you can sign up for it) and it really resonated with me.  I thought I’d share it here.


If you haven’t been asked this question, you will. Family, especially, are noted for asking if the time you invest in your work is worth the money derived from it. It’s as if you are choosing to make what you do. It’s as if you are too stupid to walk away when it’s the last thing you want to do.

So, let’s empower you a bit. 

The next time someone brings this question up, turn it around. Ask what they make in their job. Then ask if it’s the best they can make. Ask if they feel shortchanged. And when they say they deserve to make more, ask them why they aren’t hunting for another job. Then ask if the time they spend on their job is worth the money derived from it. Why are they working that job if they aren’t being compensated properly?  

Chances are, they’ll tell you they have no choice. They need the work. They need the money. They hope to make more. They haven’t been able to find other work. They’d leave if they could. Whatever the excuse, they will say the last thing they can do is quit. So, chances are they’ll also add that they sure wish they could leave because they hate their situation, hate the boss, hate the grind. How do I know? Because 80 percent of people in the world hate their job.

That’s when you say that you don’t make what you’d like to make either, but heaven forbid you have to quit because you love it so much. As a matter of fact, you are thrilled to be doing something you intensely enjoy, and it helps compensate for not making more money. On those days you feel you haven’t been paid enough, you still smile because thank goodness you are working in a profession you adore. That alone makes it all worthwhile.

And then you add . . . you hope you never have to retire from it.

That’ll shut them up.

Thanks, Hope, for this much-needed tip for dealing with people who want to know how much money I make with my writing!


6 responses to “Do You Make Money Writing?

  1. Nice post.
    And the answer? No. Not yet 😉

  2. My cousin gets asked this question quite a bit. After four books (two have won awards in Saskatchewan) she has yet to be able to stop being a farmer’s wife. She is the mother of five, grandmother of seven and she told me making money from her work is the last thing she thinks about. Seeing children red her books and learning about life on the farm is all the payment she really wants.

    • So many people cannot understand your cousin’s attitude because they don’t see the value of doing something for the love of it rather than for money. We also tend to define success in terms of the amount of money paid for what is written and published.

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