“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.”
—Louis L’Amour

Do You Want To Make Money At Writing?

As you may or may not know, storytelling as an industry—or set of industries—is going through something of a crisis.

It began with music. The internet destabilized the despotic grasp record companies held on the business. Then blogging and Craigslist combined to displace thousands of jobs in journalism. Now, the conflict has turned to publishing, and icons like Seth Godin are saying writers might not deserve to get paid anymore:

Who said you have a right to cash money from writing? I gave hundreds of speeches before I got paid to write one. I’ve written more than 4000 blog posts for free.

Poets don’t get paid (often), but there’s no poetry shortage. The future is going to be filled with amateurs, and the truly talented and persistent will make a great living. But the days of journeyman writers who make a good living by the word–over.

Make Money From Writing

Photo by Andrew Magill

Maybe you don’t have many aspirations to make money off your art. Certainly, most of the thousands of writers throughout history haven’t made much money at the business. Historically, writing has neither been the most likely nor efficient way to make money. So now that we may be going back to that state, it forces you to ask yourself about your motivations.

Why do you write?

Do you write to make money? Do you write to get famous?

Do you think you might pull a John Locke or Amanda Hocking or Stephen King or James Patterson?

It’s possible. I won’t lie. It could happen. And I do think you should be paid for your work. I hope you make lots and lots of money. Don’t think I’m rooting against you.

The odds, though, are not in your favor. You need a better reason to write than money.

A Better Reason to Write

Ok, confession time. I’m almost embarrassed to tell you this, but since I’ve challenged you, I have to step up to the challenge myself.

The truth is no matter how high your aspirations are, mine are higher. I am the most ambitious writer of all of you. Not only do I want to be a bestseller, not only do I want to be famous and make a little money, I’d like to be read for hundreds of years. I want them to teach my books in college, to have people write books about my books.

I’m absolutely insane. It’s ridiculous. I feel like a fool.

Because the truth is one or two writers of my generation might get that honor. Most of us not only will not go down in history, we won’t make a single dollar to make up for all our incredibly hard work.

So is it worth it? Should we still write at all?

The Real Reason to Write

We enter writing contests, we practice, we publish, we do all this writing because art is worth creating.

It FEELS good!

Even if we’re not widely read, does it mean it’s all in vain? What if we decided it was enough to transform the life of one reader.

And that one reader might be you. Writing can change your life. It can bring you alive. Why would you throw it away just because you might not make any money?

I’m not going to stop, I promise you.

I write because I know I’m meant to. I know that I need to. It’s good for my soul. It connects me to the human race. It feeds me.

So my question for you is, would you write if you knew you were never going to make any money at writing, would you stop?

PRACTICE

Spend some time free writing.

Write for joy. Write to feel your fingers tapping on the keyboard. Write to feel the thrill of black words on a white screen. Write for the same reason a child draws or plays with playdough or paints in watercolor.

Write for pleasure.

Write for fifteen minutes. When you’re finished, post your practice in the comments section.

May you be highly paid for your words, but more than that, may you write something you both enjoy and can feel pride in.

About Joe Bunting

Joe Bunting is a writer and entrepreneur. He is the author of the #1 Amazon Bestseller Let's Write a Short Story! and the co-founder of Story Cartel. You can follow him on Twitter (@joebunting).

  • Patricia W Hunter

    This is when you KNOW you are a writer…when you can read these beautiful words of yours…and it makes you want to dance…because if you are a writer…you HAVE to write and it brings you joy.

    Thank you, Joe, for all the ways you encourage the rest of us. Maybe your writing transforms you, but it also transforms me…and I’m sure many others would agree.

  • This is why I write:
    “Beck, there is such power in these words today. God surely uses you each time you write!” Sherrey Meyer (Thank you Sherrey, you are a fantastic, generous cheerleader!) Opening my email and finding that comment to my latest blog post was better than money.

    I write because I believe being made in the image of God means we bear the mark of his creativity. He is generous enough to invite us into his creative process and that sets a spark in my heart I want to flame. I write because influence is powerful and I believe God has given me something to say. I write because I think it makes me more generous and compassionate. I write because I want to effect change; I believe using my voice for the helpless is a sacred trust. I write because if I didn’t I would run around in circles like one of my mom’s crazy chickens looking for a place to lay her egg! I write because being a part of a creative community is thrilling.

    My ambitions when stuck out there in public make me feel foolish as well, but we’re among friends, right. I long to have novel on the New York Times best seller list. I hope to reach that goal by 50, if it happened sooner I would be shocked, I have so much to learn. I dream of writing a book that isn’t taught in universities but is handed down from Christian to Christian, dog eared, marked up, a classic. That might happen by the time I’m 92 but only if I press in to know God more and devote myself to truth like a gold digger devotes himself to finding his treasure.

    Goodness, this post really struck a nerve with me. It was powerful to write those thoughts out, why I write, what I hope for my writing. I’m fortunate enough not to need to make money off of what I write, at least for now. Yet there is something tangible that provides credibility to your writing when you do make a pay check, isn’t there?

    Thank you Joe for laying your heart bear and encouraging us to do the same! I expect one day the pleasure of picking up one of your books and enjoying it like meeting up with an old friend!

    • Marianne Vest

      Trying to write “the truth” is a great goal and you can do it. I feel sure of it.

      • Thank you Marianne. I feel it’s certainly a worthwhile pursuit!

    • I think you’ll make it before your reach your 50th birthday, Beck. Just like you, compassion is a necessary ingredient for my writing. If I don’t “feel” something about the story it just doesn’t work. My waste bin is full of stories that lacked the compassion that make for good writing.

      • Thanks Angelo! I agree I do need to “feel” the heart of the story before I can write it. I think as my kids leave the pre-school age it will free up more focused writing time and I will begin to make progress. It’s a bittersweet reality.

  • What Patricia said.

    My husband would like me to make lots of money. I would, too. More than that I’d like my words to change lives for many years. But even if I just leave a legacy for my children and touch a life here and there, that gives me joy.

    • Marianne Vest

      I think just leaving something for your children is a great goal in itself. My parents wrote down some things (because we asked them to) and I love to go over it and over it. It’s like part of them is still here.

      • kati

        so true, Marianne! i often wish my grandfather had skipped the inheritance and given us a book instead.

  • I come alive every time I sit down at the keyboard (or open the notebook) to write. Sure, I also have ambitions to make money off my writing, but my real desire is to spark the imagination of people for years to come.
    Writing still remains the most powerful form of human communication today and it is the role of every writer to inspire as much of that communication as possible.

    • Marianne Vest

      Coming alive every time you sit down sounds like you just enjoy the process and that is great because the more we practice the better we get, and the more people will want to read what we right. At least that’s how I think about it.

  • I love your honesty here. Most writers have your ambitions, we just mask them so we don’t sound like fools. It sounds foolish, it sounds egocentric, but it’s true. Bravo for saying it. I’m no less ambitious. I want to change lives with writing, and if that makes me sound full of myself, then I think the critics need to practice a little introspection. Because we all want to influence others somehow.

    And even if I knew writing would never bring me an ounce of fame or fortune, I’d still write my heart out.

  • Joe, you echo my sentiments so clearly! Recently I wrote three posts on my blog about this very topic, more pointedly why I write. Here’s a link to the third post, which includes links back to first and second. http://not-just-a-name.blogspot.com/2012/02/why-do-i-write-installment-3.html

    I’ve always said I really don’t think about publishing or making money as much as think about words and creating something from them. Typing used to be my day’s work for a high-powered attorney. Not it is my joy and creativity!

    • That last sentence was meant to read, “NOW it is my joy and creativity.” 🙂

    • Marianne Vest

      I read your blogs. Boy do you ever have it figured out for yourself. I liked what you said here ” I have a story to tell and that’s the bottom line for me. It is my story. It is mine to tell. Will it be the truth for everyone who knows me or is related to me? Probably not” – that the truth we write about is so slippery and acknowledging it must be very liberating.

  • Pootlesuzie

    I write because I have to, not to become famous, or infamous, not to be lauded by critics or peer groups. I write simply because I have to. Primarily I would could consider myself a teller of tales, these tales are made in my head and very few actually get to the point of black ink on white paper. I am drawn to writing in a lyrical sense, the singy songiness of sentences form little verses.

    My writing is an expression of the joy I have in heart, it is the same joy that gets me up in the morning, helps me complete chores, shuffles through leaves with me, jumps in puddles with me and tucks me in at night.

    The joy is the vital ingredient to my life, and everything I do is in response to this joy. So why do I say I have to write? The joy is intrinsically linked to my hands and mind, an Eindhoven’s triangle of creativity. Just as Eindhoven found a way in physics to represent the beat of a heart so I in my writing express that heart beating with joy.

    I could describe a thousand ways how the joy is expressed in my whole life and a thousand more just to describe joy in my writing. In the fifteen minute time limit, my fingers don’t fly that fast. Suffice to say, the joy is within me, expressed in my writing because I live in a state of personal jubilee after many years in the desert when I couldn’t string an audible coherent sentence together never mind write it on a page.

  • Donna Barker

    This practice is the first one to really speak to me. To touch me in places your other practices haven’t been able to reach. And, although I have done four other practices (I’ve only posted one result) I’ve found it hard to stick to the 15 minute rule. Never good enough at 15 minutes to share.

    Today the stove timer is set and when the buzzer tells me to stop, to put down my fingers, I will. Here goes:

    Write for joy and pleasure. All of my writing used to elicit this feeling. That’s why I became a communications manager at non-profit organizations. And that’s why when all my friends would complain about their day jobs, I would happily take mine home and keep working. I loved both the writing and the organizations for which my words were helping grow (please leave time to edit that sentence!). After ten years being an employee, I decided to bring my work home full-time and set out as a freelance writer and communications consultant. For years I worked with the same groups and many more like them, doing the same kind of writing that brought me joy; made me happy to wake up and turn on my laptop.

    But something changed about two years ago. The kind of writing jobs I was doing were less compelling – business plans for social enterprises, training materials for a credit union. I loved the clients but no longer loved the work. I picked up the NaNowriMo novel I’d started when in 2007, during a particularly slow November. 43,000 words. They were rough but had promise.

    I worked on that draft in my free time for two years, picking it up and adding to it, taking great chunks out, editing like a mad woman. Two years ago with 80,000 words in pretty good shape I sent it out to be read by my editor at a magazine I wrote a monthly column for and got the encouragement I wanted. And then I froze.

    I knew I’d found my new passion. But I had no confidence that I could make a living as a novelist. Dammit, Jim, I’m a technical writer, not a weaver of tales! But it’s all I wanted to do. So, I successfully repressed my heart’s desire until last December when my husband “made” me take my manuscript on a 3-day ski weekend. Since I don’t ski, while he was running the slopes, I was to finish my novel.

    And I did! Then in January I got myself into a manuscript intensive program where I have a published author working with me to get my story into shape to submit to a publisher. A real publisher. I always assumed I’d have to self-publish…

    So here I am now, weeks from completing the fourth (and FINAL, I hope!) draft of my first novel with an impossible dream of being able to fire my clients and make writing from my heart my every day practice. Terrified, I am. But then, quitting my day job to be a freelancer was certainly riskier since I don’t have to fire my clients, right? And anyway, why can’t I succeed as a novelist? I have to try since that’s all my heart will allow. But but fear of failure is … CURSED TIMER!

    Post 15 minutes: Thank you, Joe, for this practice. Fear is such a strong motivator to stall forward movement. Your words are like a gentle kick in the butt!

    • Marianne Vest

      What is your novel about?

      • Donna Barker

        It’s about a woman whose husband of fourteen years unexpectedly leaves her for another woman just as she’s about to turn forty. She sets a goal of not being single at 41 and runs blindly (and drunkenly!) into online dating before she’s even wiped away the tears of hurt. It’s called “Drinking Scotch with Strangers.” And, like most of us and our first novels, it’s loosely based on the author’s own life experience – embellished, of course!

        Thanks for asking, Marianne!

        • Yvette Carol

          Good title! Let us know how you go with your novel Donna.

    • Donna, you crack me up! The thing about praciticing is that there’s no need for editing. Once I posted a piece (that I worked on for longer than fifteen minutes) and was written in six different tenses (ok, there might be some embellishing there… I am a writer). If I’m still going strong at 15 minutes, I keep going. Why cut off the flow of words if you’re enjoying them? It isn’t like having to get out of the hot shower to go to work, it is work itself… but practice.

      Katie

      • Donna Barker

        Katie,
        I have one client with whom I’ve worked for fifteen years. She said to me about ten years ago, “Donna. Get it to 80%. Then deliver. Good enough is good enough.” I’m a compulsive editor! Without rules and deadlines I will dawdle a day away.

        I totally agree with you about the role of the practice, Katie. But given my nature, had I not set that strict parametre (Canadian spelling, not a typo!), I never would have started the practice, for fear of not being able to stop! It’s such a juicy topic!

    • Oddznns

      Good luck. Don’t dither. Move in the direction of fear and get it out!

      • Donna Barker

        Wow… that put the image of a giant spider in my mind, immediately followed by the urge to RUN AWAY! Of course, you’re right. Walk towards the Shelab. It’s not really so big or scary when you stop to face it, eye to eye to eye to eye… ich. I’d like to add to your advice:

        Put on your best stomping boots, move in the direction of fear and get it out!

        I can do that! Thanks, Oddznns!

    • My father in law had a saying…”Nothing ventured, nothing gained.”

      Life comes at us fast. One day we’ll all sit in a rocker and wonder about all the “what-if’s” life presented us with.
      The person with the fewest regrests wins…so go with your heart.

      Remember–life is in session.

      • Donna Barker

        This advice, coming from a retired police detective, has even more weight than it would from almost anyone else. Thank you, Angelo. I believe that you truly lived what you advise.

        It’s funny – there are some areas of life where risk-taking feels so easy. And then there’s the risk of a bruised (or beaten) ego and having people read your work and not like it. Or worse… not read it!

        But you are right. If I don’t finish and publish I will regret that decision until the day I die. To get so close and the then freeze… that would be the biggest failure.

  • I don’t write to make money. I write to express myself, confound my enemies and please my friends. I write because there are so many idiots in the world that will benefit from my carefully chosen words. I write to right wrongs. I write to make a difference. I write because I must.

    Sometimes I publish what I write. I publish to spread my words farther and to further understanding. I publish to make money, occasionally, not enough to worry the IRS, enough for pencils and a legal pad now and then. But then, I live simply so as to not require much money.

    Writing is a creative process, fun, satisfying, worthwhile.

    Publishing is a necessary drudge, frustrating, servile and stultifying.

    I could stop publishing in a heartbeat. I will never stop writing.

    • Oddznns

      Yes, precisely. “I could stop publishing in a heartbeat. I will never stop writing.” But to be read … Isn’t that something?

    • Marianne Vest

      I like what you say about writing vs. publishing. I feel that way about writing vs. submitting, and it’s really not that hard to submit a story at all.

  • I don’t write for specifically for the money. The challenge, and some recognition tickles me well enough. I write because I have to… I cannot stop the words that push to get out. I think I do it as a validation for my life and one day someone might find it and go, “Wow, this guy was interesting and lived a full life.”

    Here is my 15 minute challenge.

    12:38

    I read the challenge to write because I am free to write and to thrill and be thrilled by whatever comes zipping out of my fingertips. As a child I loved to fingerpaint… even from my diaper. Of course my parents were less than thrilled. But, I was zealous and ever wanting to express myself.

    Through the years I come to know that whether I am drawing, painting, writing, cooking, or just smiling that my major motivation is communication. I want to connect with myself and with my fellow human beings. I even talk to animals and all of nature… but, I don’t always hug trees.

    If I could I would sit in front of this computer and tap away from morning to night and I have done so on many occasions. I started out tapping away on a typewriter, an Underwood, that I recovered from a pile of junk on garbage day when I was about 9 or 10.

    I was so blessed to have a teacher who knew I would be late on Monday mornings because I was out with my wagon collecting books and whatnots from the stuff people put out on their curbs the night before. I filled a corner of our garage with books and on occasion found a treasure like the typewriter.

    I am left-handed and was treated poorly by the nuns when I was in grade school. I used to get my hand beaten for writing with it. I have knobby knees from kneeling in a closet whose floor was lined with marbles because of my impertinence and refusal to write at home with my right-hand. Left was sinistro or sinister and right was derecha or law. I learned to write in class with my right-hand but did my homework with my left and the writing style was so different that I would be accused of cheating or some such sinister plot when I turned in my homework. Of course my grade for penmanship was terrible.

    This experience led me to fall in love with the idea of the typewriter. An anonymous writing machine that took both hands to operate and one the if done correctly produced a crisp, clear, document that could be read by all who could read English. I was thrilled to find the typewriter.

    My family are tinkerers and inventors and builders and so I looked the machine over and found all that it lacked was a chain for the chain drive. A simple chain, not a notched one like used on bicycles, no gears, it used pulleys.

    I immediately when to work looking for a chain and found one dangling above my head. My father’s workbend overhead light. I got up on the bench and took down a length of it and soon was happily learning how to tap away on the keys. The ink in the ribbon was faint, but readable.

    I took my prize into the house and everyone in the family wanted to play with it. When my dad went out to the garage for something after dark he was perterbed that he could not reach the pull-chain on his light. But, he forgave me by confiscating my typewriter. It seems he was a pretty good typist having been a supply clerk in the service during the Korean War era.

    I still got to use his typewriter on occasion. I don’t know what happened to that machine after I left home and went into the service. I do know that I am looking for one today just for the fun of it.

    12:53

    My first time posting here.

    • Marianne Vest

      That’s fascinating. You must be talented to figure our about the chain. I love to watch people (0r see in my mind from reading) people doing things like that. It looks like so much fun.

      I didn’t know that derecha meant right and law either. I was inclined to be left handed as a child too. I tried to use my right hand because my mother told me the world was built for right handers and because I was embarrassed when I couldn’t figure out which hand to hold over my heart when we pledged allegiance to the flag in kindergarden. I wonder why the nuns were so mean. I always here that from people who went to Catholic schools.

      • In Spanish “derecha” means right and law. Except the word for left is “izquierda.”

        Welcome to the Write Practice, Doogie. We don’t mind that you use your sinister left hand.

        Katie

  • Rachelle Eaton

    “I am the most ambitious writer of all of you. ”

    I don’t know about that! I want to create new forms. I want to reinvent old genres. I want to be Homer, Augustine, Montaigne, Austen, Blake, Whitman. I want to be the voice at the cusp of this new global world. Now, if “ambitious” includes actually doing something about one’s dreams, well, then, you’ve got me beat by a long shot because I haven’t written a thing. Partly because this desire to be a genius is paralyzing.

    However, I do think that more than one or two from our generation could enter the canon. Think of the Romantics: Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Shelley, Keats, born within 25 years of each other. The explosion of literary energy in the early 19th century! The revolutionary change in the world at that time was no greater than what we see now.

    I heard a spot on NPR a while ago about how it takes a while for new technologies to find their own forms; for example, the earliest television was just like radio. When microwave ovens first came out, they were publishing cookbooks for how to make all the same foods in them. That didn’t take off (have you ever roasted a turkey in the microwave?) but no one had imagined TV dinners. The interview was about e-books, and how very little has been done yet to harness the unique potential of this media; most e-books are just regular books and I think even the enhanced ones are still just books with other things tacked on. There is so much potential for innovation and it’s that, along with having something to say to comment upon and direct the massive social changes happening now, that earns one’s spot in the history books.

    • Oddznns

      Yeah! What about the Nobel Prize in literature, to have thousands, hundreds of thousands, crying when they read … or running out the door shouting hallelujah. What about being remembered, like Homer and Li Bai for more than 10 centuries? Joe … you surely do not have a monopoly on the big dreams;)

  • Marianne Vest

    Eclat and a Spitz

    I have new ink for my pen. It is a color by J. Herbin called Éclat de Sapir. I looked up éclat in the French-English dictionary online. Éclat means splinter, fragment, sliver, brilliance, glitter, luster, glow, glamour, fame and good reputation. I thought about translation of the classics. I thought about how I read Chechov’s “The lady with the little dog” partly on my iPad and then partly on my Kindle with the two devices having different translations. In one the little dog is a Pomeranian and in one it is a Spitz, both little fluffy dogs but probably not the same to the owner of a Pom or a Spitz.

    After church on Sundays when I was about three we went to visit Aunt Bessie and Uncle Tom, my great-aunt and great-uncle. They lived in in an elegant apartment in Norfolk. There was one room, probably a dining room, with a persian carpet. It was full of curio cabinets with porcelain figurines in them. They were shiny, those glass sided cabinets and I was drawn to them. I stood at eye level with the shelves of the cabinets, and pretended that I lived among the porcelain figures in their shimmering home. One shepherdess with a crook and two sheep smiled at me. She had pink cheeks and bowed lips. He eyes were blue. I wanted to be her, wearing her beautiful white dress with bows of light blue roses. I wanted to be followed by her gentle sheep as I walked along in the shining cabinet. I wasn’t allowed to touch the cabinets because of fingerprints, but I loved to just stand there holding my hands behind my back. Once Uncle Tom’s little white dog, a spitz, with sharp white teeth ran barking at me. My mother was holding my little sister, so I had to run for Aunt Bessie’s lap. She was soft and warm and her skin was like the porcelain shepherdess. She had slivery blue hair and crimson nails. She smelled like flowers. Beside her chair in a crystal ginger jar were gumdrops covered in sugar crystals

    • Yvette Carol

      Simply transcendent Marianne. I liked the shifts in tone and mood and the way you somehow married the silvery blue hair and crimson nails, with the splinter, fragment, sliver, brilliance, glitter at the beginning. The crystal and the sugar crystals at the end were a sweet way of continuing the theme.

  • Marianne Vest

    I agree one hundred percent. It’s fun to write especially when you don’t worry about whether you will gain any benefit beyond putting down the words and if you are very lucky having someone else enjoy them. Sharing beauty or even darkness, being understood when you feel that you are at your best, are maybe selfish aims but they are satisfying.

    • It’s funny how sharing your writing can be done for selfish ambition but also keeping your writing to yourself can be selfish.

      • Oddznns

        So true Katie.

  • Thanks for the “encouragement,” Joe…

    “Do something you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.”

    This Chinese proverb scribbled onto a Post-it by my father has been stuck to the computer armoire in my parents’ den for as long as I can remember. It’s been my rule-of-thumb for years. It’s the reason I chose to pursue a degree in English-Writing rather than one with a defined job at the end like nursing or education.

    I’ve been told I’d be a great nurse. I’m often asked where I teach.

    Nope, I’m not a registered nurse or certified to teach. I’m a writer.

    “Do something you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” has a whole new meaning now. It means, “you won’t get a paying job because you have a worthless degree.” It means “Become a chameleon and let others define you because you can’t do it yourself.” It means adding yet another blog to the cybernoise. It means, “Good luck, you’ll never make a buck.” It means depression, sadness, and a complete collection rejection letters.

    Yet still I sit here reading a writing blog, putting black words onto a white page, and doing it all with joy. Whether it means a paycheck or a hobby, I was born to write.

    In a letter C. S. Lewis write, “I am sure that some people are born to write as trees are born to bear leaves. For these, writing is a necessary mode of their own development.”

    That’s me. Like a tree bearing new leaves and shedding old, writing changes with the seasons but it is always writing. Blog writing, ghostwriting, freelance writing, novel writing, freewriting… words on paper. Thoughts spilling into ink. Processing on paper.

    It’s why I write, the only way I can truly express myself. I write because it’s freeing. I write because I can’t not write. I miss it when I don’t. I was born to write.

    Whether it leads to a paying career or not, I am a writer. Whether I make a dollar, have a reader, or see my name on a (book) spine or not, I am a writer. No matter what happens (shy of having my hands chopped off), I will always be a writer. (And even then I’ll just be a writer with no hands).

    There are other things I love and maybe they’ll lead to a job that doesn’t involve working. But either way, I’ll do something I love: writer.

    • Marianne Vest

      “and even then I’ll just be a writer with no hands”, very true I think. I like your be a chameleon thought also.

    • Yvette Carol

      Absolutely spot on Katie! Written with conviction. You go!! 🙂

  • brab608

    The alarm went off at 5:00 am. What had she been thinking last night when she’d set the alarm? Last night Amelia had been filled with such hope for tomorrow. An early start, take the dogs for a long walk, make a healthy breakfast, read the newspaper and even do the crossword puzzle – all before she had to get ready for work and be out the door by
    7:00 am. Just nine more minutes, she told herself; just one push on the Snooze alarm.

    She gently reached over Emmy, her ten year Yellow Lab/Beagle mix, giving her a quick scratch behind the ears before she pressed the clock’s button. Then she turned over to reclaim her comfortable spot in the pillows and comforter, only to be startled out of her imminent doze by Vera’s yelp. In the seconds that she’d vacated her place on the bed to reset the alarm, like a heat seeking missile, the 8 year old dog of mixed origin had quickly and stealthily taken up residence in Millie’s warm spot on the bed.

    Amelia attempted to drag her pillow out from under the black dog, but Vera would have none of it. Then she shifted to the other side of the bed only to run smack in to Emmy’s dead weight. She had maybe four inches of room in which to squeeze her head between the two dogs. It would be a tight fit, but the clock was ticking and she didn’t want to waste any more time. Beep Beep Beep. Nine minutes went by quickly at this time of the day. Quickly Millie hit the Snooze button again. Not caring if she disturbed the dogs.

    Emmy and Vera had shifted their spots on the bed. One was laying parallel to her, the other perpendicular in the center of the bed. This required Millie to lay in and “S” shape around the dogs. She quickly laid her head down, not wanting to lose any more of the second nine minutes. The lumps in the mattress dug in to her temple. The two dogs had claimed the four of the five pillows with which she routinely slept. The fifth one was probably on the floor or had fallen between the mattress and the wall at the head of the bed. For the umpteenth time, Millie vowed her next purchase would be headboard.

    A deep sigh and she started to drift off, only to have her nostrils fill with fur with each inhalation. She moved the blankets to lay loosely over her nose and mouth to, give her room to protect her from the dog hair, without suffocating her. Beep Beep Beep. Another nine minutes gone by.

    By this time, Amelia was more exhausted than she was when the alarm had first gone off. She sat up, shoving the dogs out of the way. She angrily pressed the buttons to reset the alarm entirely. No snooze alarm; she was taking back a block of time. 6:00 am – that would give her forty two uninterrupted minutes. No – 6:15 am. Fifty seven minutes; that was almost an hour. No “almost” for her. She angrily punched the buttons and set the alarm for 6:30 am. She could still be out the door in time. Amelia would look like hell when she got to work, but she didn’t care. She wanted just a bit more sleep. A bit more

    • Marianne Vest

      Funny! It sounds like she had more trouble “sleeping” than it was worth. I really felt the struggle there. Well done.

  • brab608

    A blog post I wrote about a year ago on why I write:

    My pastor recently preached a sermon on Genesis 1 titled “God’s Calling”. In it, he mentioned that everyone’s calling is to subdue creation and have dominion, that is control it and turn it into something of benefit.. My limited brain immediately brought to mind the example of musicians taking jumbles of notes and making beautiful music and artists taking color and line and making picturesque, museum-quality artwork. Later, when my friend and I were out running, I jokingly said we were subduing the creation that was our bodies and making fit beings out of them. A few steps and labored breaths later, I realized my joke was true (some of my most profound statements often start off as joke). It made me start thinking of other ways I could subdue creation and make something beneficial.

    One of the problems with being single is not having someone readily available to bounce off ideas. I have so many of them they overwhelm me. I drown in my imagination, my thoughts, my feelings, my opinions. They wind up jumbled into a giant knot that weighs me down, ties me up and restrains me where I’m unable to move. Kind of like a “hoarder” only it’s my spirit that’s trapped inside my mind. My brain is like a cluttered, bulging file cabinet that lacks order. Hundreds, maybe thousands of stray notes have been stuffed in there with no order, causing me distress and confusion.

    Perhaps writing more would give me an outlet, a manner by which I could subdue the thousands of thoughts that crowd my mind and maybe uncover something beautiful. Subduing my thought-life may bring about something honorable to God. At the very least, my mind would be decluttered and cleaned up and maybe not weigh me down with the junk of sad and desperate thoughts. Maybe something lovely might be uncovered, like a buried treasure.

    • kati

      great images: a giant knot, a hoarder, a bulging file cabinet.

      You said you wrote this a year ago. And it sounds like at the time, writing as an outlet was a new thought for you. i’m curious: did you continue writing through the year? is it helping declutter, and decrease the influx of distressing thoughts?

      as far as i’m concerned…crisp imagery is lovely, no matter what the image itself is. As you say, it’s like stumbling upon buried treasure that someone else was kind enough to dig up.

      • Thank you, Kati. For amateurs like me, replies to my posts ARE payment.

        As for your questions, I’ve been writing off and on since childhood. It’s only been in the last 12-18 months that I’ve been more deliberate about it, making intentional efforts – like posting on this forum.

        I don’t know if the influx of distressing thoughts has decreased, but at least my plumbing isn’t backing up!

  • Shanti Lewis

    Thank you for your post. I have written thousands of posts for free and will continue until the last breath within me occurs. To me writing is not about making money but more about expressionism. If I but assist only one soul in my life, this will be sufficient for my peace. Writers that are meant to write are driven deep within, they can’t fight it, they can’t resist it, it permeates their being, they should never give up!

    An issue for many disgruntled writers seems to be due to the ease of self publishing; with e-readers being the new technology of our day, nearly anyone can get their writing published. I’m perfectly fine with this though; you have to be secure with yourself, and when I read a book of another; if it is done well, I go back for more and if it is not, I pass the author by the next time around. I think due to this new way of publishing, many say that a person should not receive money, especially if they do not have a writing degree, but personally I could not disagree more. For me some of the most amazing writings I have ever read have been from non published writers, or from those without degrees, and really who has the right to decide who’s writing is more acceptable then another, or more profound. Writing is truly a God given right to write! It seems that those that do not fair well often seem to be the ones who are more into it for the money sake, rather then due to the true spirit of it, or on the other side of it are successful due to an agenda that they follow, when it is the latter, then writing often becomes tainted. Those that have this driven gift will fair well even if not one cent comes to them, although I do believe they will succeed if they persevere, even with making some money along the way, possibly in an unexpected way. The Universe will give back, maybe not in the way they expect, but your energy is not in vain, and it will be in a priceless way.

    We are born with gifts; maybe we do not fit in to what the mainstream wishes, but there is no need for a person to give up a special mission given to them from birth, despite the dictates of mainstream controlled society. I think it is wonderful that self publishing is available, for too long many have been silenced their gift by a predetermined criteria for publishing. How often are writers asked to change entire stories due to it not being what goes along with the flow? How can one remain true to their expressionism if they are ask at every turn to change what is given to them, it is only after they become a big hit that they are allowed more flexibility. What if that story that comes to your mind for 10 years finally gets put down onto paper to only be told, this is unacceptable and your life dream is quickly snatched due to bureaucratic selective setups.

    Writing from the soul; for the soul, and for others is the only authentic way to write. Writing to me is a form of frequency and it takes many hands to reach billions of souls, and we resonate on very individualistic terms. Frankly I have read some writings of some supposed famous ones and yet I am very bored or complacent with receiving. There is a rut to be found in standardized setups, I think there is a downfall that can take place, the spirit is lost somewhere in the translation from heart to publisher. It does take a special soul to capture my attention, which so happens to be more times then not the ordinary writer. The underdog.

    • Shanti… spirit is one thing but Art is another. You seem to be dissing writers who work hard to respect the parameters of their art form. Your free spirit of course is valuable in the early going, but unless it serves the demands of “good writing”, it is only going to ensure the writer remains an amateur. I beg you to back off all this “winging it” and bear down on the demands of the novel, memoir, or genre fiction… whativer it is you hope to produce. You seem to have lots of energy, which is the main thing.

      • Marianne Vest

        I have to agree with PJ here in that we all have to work to improve our art from using the parameters of our art. There’s lots of freedom within the parameters of good writing, but if you want to communicate you have to have readers and most of us won’t read things that aren’t well put together one way or the other (depending on genre). What drove publishers to begin with was sales and sales are based on readers, and readers seem to not like abrupt POV changes, unreliable characters, changes in tense, a whole lot of repetition. Some people may be born with certain gifts but writing is something that is learned and that requires practice, now storytelling or creating novel plots, characters etc. may be more of a “gift” but good writing is something that requires craft as well as creativity.

      • Shanti Lewis

        Not at all PJ,

        I believe excellent writers have both gone through the standardized publishing and self publishing route. I have the greatest respect for art of all kinds. I too am a jewelry artist and painter. I belong on groups with many famous writers, many of which I talk with privately. I study and read writings continuously; I also write myself.

        I think you may have misinterpreted my post. My utter point is that “good” writing comes to those that go through mainstream and out of mainstream alike.

        Those of times past, even throughout all ages have written not for not necessarily mainstream but to share truth that was given to them, whether through stories they create or for a specific purpose given to them. I have been researching for nearly 15 years now and share my knowledge through my writing; personally speaking I truly do not know one soul alive that should be forbidden to share truth whether in story form or within the non fiction arena. If they are “good” writers folks will come back for more, if they are not, then they will find that they fall by the wayside.

        One thing to me that is most important is that if anyone writes for the pure joy and expression of it, their writings are never for naught, no matter what the mainstreamers wish to say. I personally know famous and non famous writers alike and one thing I do notice is that ALL of them, from both sides of the spectrum practice, learn, and practice some more. What is there to say for a person that is given a dream to only wake up and write a breathtaking poem, and yet they are not credentialed? Should they not share it with the world due to dogmatic bureaucracy !! Yes there are a small handful that do it without serious regard but for the usual portion most seem to have the heart, spirit, and drive to do it well. I come from a family of Mensa kin and I learned long ago the trap of the credentialed versus the brilliant non conformist. Too often one becomes a victim of their own self made paradigms by following the worlds ‘acceptable’ path and way, becoming flat rather then authentic with expression. This is not to say that going the mainstream way that one cannot fight against the conforming, because there are brilliant credentialed ones in our midst no doubt.

        In regards to writing however there are not many that I know of that do not criticize their own writing; many become their own critic which drives them with passion to keep learning and listening to others. I find it rather egotistical that so many in mainstream think that it is their domain solely, simply due to them going to school to get a degree; many of the famous writers of eons gone by never went to such schools and yet their writings have gone down in history as being most profound. We might as well squelch free speech while we are at it, or better yet put tape over the mouths of those lowly ones who have no right to express.

        There is another component all too forgotten and that to me would be does the story or writing compel or stir one deep within. Too many writers, credentialed and non credentialed alike draw complacency through the staged steps of dogmatic principles. There are many famous writers that state such a thing, even Stephen King and others. Many try to implore others to follow their heart within their stories, all the while learning proper formatting and all the essentials that go with writing a great novel. They teach that following the criteria is often the downfall to what could have been authentic writing from ones heart.

        My point is that you if have a story to tell, one should tell it as it feels right. Often standardized protocol ruins what could have been a truly authentic piece, meaning one that is not average or the same ol same ol. Speaking from the heart is the only way……. As to what you were remarking to me about, I have no clue as to what you mean, my post was clearly for all writers whether they be published mainstreamers or those that go the self publishing route, hence I’m thinking there was a misinterpreting of my original message.

        Yes I have written over 60,000 non fiction commentaries / posts PJ; I was humbled when I’ve had people from all over the world write to me asking me to write books, which I am currently doing, but I do it not because I am so practiced but because I stir things within people, I’m guided in mystical ways; though no doubt I am studying hard for proper presentation of my work.

        I am much more then energetic as you mention, I am driven with passion of things given to me to write, and I have a gift and pursue it bravely despite those that criticize such as yourself.

        I rarely dislike what I read, and I appreciate those that strive to do their best. I belong on many groups with writers from all over the world and one thing I see as a no brainer is that one has to learn, learn, and learn some more. There is not many on earth who would wish to speak through writing and not try to cover all bases! Time is precious ; most all people look at their writing from a point of sacred expression, anyone would logically wish to become the best they can be, but to sacrifice originality for criteria isn’t the way.

        I don’t know many who “wing” things, as you mentioned; I never have, and most others like myself take this very seriously. Most all that I know, including myself study, practice; learn from others, and pursue it with full heart. This goes all the way from the self-published to mainstream published alike. Editors and critic partners are available to all.

        Writing is a form of art……. just like it is not the right of others to say what works and what does not work when painting a lovely landscape, we learn from the masters, we then find our own niche of expression. All art is a form of expressionism. All should be accepted and a God given right to pursue, those that do well will succeed and those that do not will not. No need for taping the mouth shut and squelching free speech and arts expressionism.

        take care, Shanti Lewis

        • Thank you, Shanti… let’s leave that one where it lies and meet again on another issue. All the best.

  • Just B

    I just found out I’m going to be a grandmother. Just. Like yesterday. Me. A grandmother. Our son and his beautiful wife came home for a weekend visit, as they often do, nothing out of the ordinary, just to spend some family time. Or so we thought. We were sitting in the living room last evening, shoes off, kicking back, enjoying some casual conversation, when my son got up, walked across the room and took a white t-shirt out of his overnight bag. He walked over to me, handed me the wadded-up shirt and said “Here, Mom, my wife got me this for Valentine’s Day”. OK, I’m thinking, this could be interesting. I hold up the shirt and on the back I read in blue printed letters “World’s Best Dad”. What? I look up and I see my husband across the room, apparently reading the front side of the shirt I’m holding up. At this point, everyone’s looking at me and I’m looking from my son’s face, to my daughter-in-laws’s face, to my husband’s face – – and no one’s saying anything. They’re just smiling. I slowly flip the shirt around and I read the words “soon to be” and I see a stork with goofy eyes wearing a silly hat and carrying a baby swaddled in a blanket in his long stork beak. And I see my son’s face and he’s smiling even wider and I see my daughter-in-law’s face and she’s smiling and I see my husband’s face and he’s smiling and – – I get it. Almost eight weeks pregnant with their first child, baby due in October. We’ll have a baby here at Thanksgiving, at Christmas, I hear someone say. But in that moment, in that instant, I can’t say anything. All I know is that just then, as I sat there, this corny t-shirt still in hand, looking at the smiling face of my son, my wonderful, beautiful, loving, caring, remarkable son, in that moment, I know in my heart, that he will make a wonderful father. I know this because I know him. I know this because I know how deeply he cares about the people he loves. We’re not just mother and son, we’re good friends, best friends. I know how pleased he is to tell me this, to share this news, face to face, heart to heart. I love him so much I feel mine will burst. I manage to get up from my chair to take him in my arms and hug him with all my might. I let him go only so I can hug my beautiful daughter-in-law. Hugs all around. It’s still sinking in. A grandmother? Me? Digesting this is gonna take a while.

    • Marianne Vest

      That as lovely. I’ll bet this time next year you won’t be able to imagine not being a grandmother. Congratulations!

  • Good on ya, Joe. There’s a line I like that I’m thinking of putting on my blog page and it goes like this: “YOU NEVER KNOW TO WHOM YOU ARE SPEAKING.” It’s impossible to know whose work/life we are influencing. Especially when the word travels so quickly so far and wide.

    • kati

      this is a great thought, that we don’t know who we are influening.

      when i first started writing, i wanted to “hoard” my work…have one grand notebook where I would keep track of everything i wrote on this blog or that, because everything came to the page with such struggle. but i’ve decided instead to think of writing as simply another form of talking. i never feel the urge to trap and tag everything i say. i have no need to be paid for every bright thought that passes through my lips. It would never occur to me to wish strangers would weigh in on thoughts i share with friends.

      i talk freely, i write freely. if there’s some great ledger book in the sky that documents the path all my carefully chosen words took once they left me, i’ll happily read it when there’s nothing more to be said.

    • Yvette Carol

      Good thought PJ…which is why we need to strive to be ourselves and be honest and to ‘represent’ (as they say)….

  • Oddznns

    I write because it’s as natural, as necessary, as breathing … because, putting the words down on paper releases me from here and now, catapults me into no time and all time. On the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo painted Adam being woken to life by God, God’s index finger touching the tip of Adam’s. This is how my best writing days are – a communion with infinity, infusing me with awakening. Priceless!

    Ask rather why at a particular moment I choose to write about a particular subject; why right now and for the last year, I’ve been writing this story, about this man, his war, his loves, our life?

    Yesterday, my husband and I, my daughter and her husband-to-be, went through our cache of photographs to pick some out for the slide show they’ll be showing at her wedding. There was one of my husband smiling, holding our son a Buddha like mountain of baby. I’d forgotten the weight of that boy, the sweetness of the man. Time wears. We exchange our shine for the patina of wisdom, the crust of experience.

    Somehow, in the giving and the taking, I mislaid my memories of the doing. But, the body remembers. Each wrinkle on our faces, each laugh line, each strand of silver gained, each wisp of lack lost, is a knowing, a record of how we got from that to this. This year, in this story, I’ve been reclaiming what I know. Re-membering, the parts of a life we’ve dis-membered. Making whole.

    • Marianne Vest

      “Re-membering, the parts of a life we’ve disremember. Making whole.” how well put. That is a real valid reason to write I think.

    • Diane Turner

      Well stated. I particularly like the line about re-membering. When I sit down and free write, the memories come thundering, one after another – events that happened many years ago, but somehow come back in vivid detail. So, I know what you mean.
      Enjoyed your mislaid memories. Nicely put.

  • Wanda Kiernan

    I do write because it feels good. I’ve stuck to my goal of writing at least 15 minutes a day, but usually the 15 minutes turns to 30 minutes, and sometimes more. It is fun. I just recently got into the habit of not editing as I’m writing. Even if the premise is ridiculous, if that’s what the characters want to do or say, so be it. There will be time for fine tuning later.

    For now just write. Let the fingers flow, the thoughts flow, the scenes flow. And every now and then, there’s a real gem of an idea that gets me excited and exhilarated. Or my characters reveal themselves to me in a new and unexpected way. If I ponder the character too much, I stifle that character. Make him or her too stiff, too careful, too BORING.

    So, for now just write. Get it down on paper and drive blind folded down the road not worrying about what’s around the bend, or if this is an accident waiting to happen. Let the accident happen because that’s when I discover yet something else that’s new and exciting. It’s like climbing up stairs and opening the doors on each flight; peeking into the rooms to see what’s going on. Could be boring, but keep with it, something will turn up. When it’s time to edit, I’ll take the boring stuff out.

    But for now, just write. It takes me away from the day to day; from my “real job”. I do my writing on the train trip into the city. By the time the train pulls into the station I feel exhilarated and ready to face the day already feeling like I’ve accomplished something. That’s a great feeling to have when I walk into the office, and start working on projects (which also have me writing – training material – which I find satisfying), but I like my characters better.

    I like where they take me, what they teach me, what they show me. They even get mad at me sometimes when I’m trying too hard to mold them into something they are not. I never believed it when I heard writers say, “The characters speak to me”. Really? Yes, they do! I’ll never forget the first time that happened to me. It was eye opening. And now I always let them do the talking. It doesn’t get any better than that.

    And, so now I just wrote.

    And it was fun!

    • Marianne Vest

      It sounds like you had fun which made that fun to read. I think I’m going to do that with my characters just let them go and if they get into something interesting then that’s good and if not I’ll talk to some other characters and see if they’ve got anything interesting to write. That was so refreshing. Thank you

      • Wanda Kiernan

        Glad you found it helpful.

  • Thanks for the advice Joe.
    Is it ironic to say that the inspiration for the story below is writer’s block?
    Read and enjoy guys (and gals) 🙂

    **********************

    He swept his hands across the table—pen and papers and books went flying down to the ground. He was breathing heavy and his heart was pounding like some kind of tribal drum. He ran a shaky hand through his hair and he sat down on the ground. March reached inside his breast pocket for a stick of cigarette. He placed it between his lips and he closed his eyes. “Shit,” he uttered. He looked around at the mess he just made and he gave uttered another “shit”.
    With his eyes closed and an unlit cigarette stuck between his dried lips, March forced open his mind’s eye. There, he saw, a man clad in full body armor. The armor glistened under the intense rays of the yellow red sun. In the knight’s left hand was a sword of great length and on his other hand was a shield in the shape of a kite. On it was the insignia—a black colored cube. The knight raised his visor and March saw a smile painted on the knight’s deathly pale face.
    “Hullo March,” the knight said in his raspy voice. “You look like shit.”
    March did indeed look like crap. He hadn’t bathed in over three days, his shirt was crumpled and his hair was a mess, his eyes were red from lack of sleep and his head felt like it was being split open by a jackhammer. To say that he looked like shit was an understatement. Still, March managed to allow himself a smile. “I’ve you to thank for that,” he said.
    “Well, I’m just doing my job,” the knight said in reply. He then pointed his sword at March’s face. “Now, what can I do for you?”
    “I want you to get out of my head,” March calmly said. “I want you to give me that piece of paper in your pocket and to let me get on with my life.”
    The knight gave a laugh. It sounded like nails scraping a chalkboard. March felt the hair on his arms stand.
    “You know I can’t do that Marchy boy,” the knight lowered his sword, “I’ll be out of a job if I let you do as you please. I’ve got two mouths to feed you know and food don’t come cheap nowadays.”
    March focused his mind. He opened just a crack his Imagination. Out of nothing, a sword appeared in his left hand. It was shorter than the knight’s but just as deadly, if not deadlier—it all depends on the strength of March’s Imagination as a matter of fact.
    The knight smiled again. “Tut, tut, you want to get your ass kicked again?”
    “Not this time. I want to write and you’ll let me write.” In March’s other hand a circular shield appeared. A pen was painted on the face of the shield. “I’ve faced your lot before and I’ll do to you what I did to them.”
    The knight opened his mouth in an ‘O’ shape. “Oh I assure you Marchy boy, I’m in a different league than the small fries you’ve battled in the past. Me? I’m one of the big boys you see.”
    March knew what the knight was saying. He could see it, he could feel it. The knight was more powerful than the others. March wasn’t, to be honest, if he could defeat the knight. But he had to try. There was simply no other option. March tapped into his Imagination once again. His body was suddenly covered in polished white armor. He lowered his visor and the knight in front of him did the same.
    “I’m going to enjoy this Marchy boy,” he heard the muffled voice of the Writer’s Block say.
    March gave a shout and he charged. Writer and Writer’s Block clashed. The sound of their swords’ song filled the mind of March.

    • Marianne Vest

      Ha! That was funny. I suspected they were cartoons or something like that when the night showed up. I like the kind of hyperbolic humor you use. Thanks

      • Thanks Marianne. I had fun writing this and I’m glad you had fun reading it! 🙂

  • I just finished my evening write-a-thon. Tonight was one of those magic nights. I just finished the first draft of a story, and I am exhilarated. I hope you don’t mind if I don’t post it, because I need to hide it away for a month or so.

    It would be nice to earn some money, but I don’t earn any money for my day job either. Some things you do for love, like this story that I just finished, for instance, (and my day job).

    It had its origins in a writing prompt. I found it hidden away in a practice notebook. I came across it when I was hunting around for ideas for the last “Show-Off” contest. I had forgotten about it. Finding it again after a year, I was impressed by how original and compelling it was, at least to me. That baby is my own. When the time comes for me to share it, I hope that someone else will enjoy it, too.

    • Marianne Vest

      Congratulations on your new “baby” Casey. I hope we get to see it some day.

    • Yvette Carol

      How exciting Casey! There’s nothing that compares with when the magic is happening and the flow of the story is effortlessly ‘there’

      • I know. I wish it happened more often. But at least I know it can happen, and that’s what keeps me coming back–the possibility.

        • Yvette Carol

          Me too

  • I love to write everyday and blogging is my best outlet. My mum said why do you blog everyday if you don’t get paid doing it. I got a bit hurt because you don’t always need to get paid for doing something you love, it’s an ideal set-up and I know I’ll get there one day. I don’t argue with her but I continue to blog every single day because for now I write for my love for ideas, words, and sharing.

  • kati

    i think this phenomenon is happening in many industries right now. people are making less and less money doing things that still require lots of study and skill. part of it is the fact that technology widens the playing field, and part of it is the domino effect of a struggling economy.

    i interview people for my job, and it seems like people are less entitled now, and more focused on doing things for deeper reasons. personally i’m okay if as a society we have to work a lot harder for less. keeps us humble, and grateful.

    • Yvette Carol

      Ha ha, I’m feeling you Kati. I often look at the big grandiose houses and think ‘the poor woman who has to clean all of that!’ and ditto goes for those places you see that are all windows. Imagine having to clean all those glass panes?! One of the lovely speech language therapists who worked with my son when he was younger said that she admired that I preferred to have a smaller house and lifestyle and stay home with my kids. I’ve always held on to that!

  • When I used to go to church, I always marveled at how each week, the sermon the preacher decided to preach that day sound like it was written for me. It was completely relevant to what was going on in my life and I swear it was like the preacher had read my journals that week. He really was in my head. Now, I could chalk that up to some divine intervention and God was speaking to me. I tend to lean more towards the preacher was speaking because I probably wasn’t the only one going through this particular problem. There is comfort in believing that.
    .
    That is exactly how I felt reading Joe’s post. In my church, if the pastor was speaking to what was in your heart, you would often hear the congregation yell something like “Preacher, paster preach.” Well, “Write, Joe write.”

    I have been writing in journals all my life. I write when I am happy and when I am sad and I write to just get the stuff out of my head or to remember an event that was near and dear to me. I wrote all the time and then for about 5 years, I stopped. But, I thought about it all the time, I had the desire, but was stuck in that thinking of what is the point. Why was I doing it?
    I had forgotten about how the physical act of writing felt. I forgot how I while I wrote. I forgot how it felt after I wrote something. Writing made me happy, calm, relieved and proud. So, I started writing again. And, I wrote more often and I set down a time to write every day. Some days, I write when I should be doing my job. Not the best idea, but I was just happy that I found that feel again. I found the joy of writing.

    I will admit that I probably look at my blog stats way to much and joke about it often on my blog. But, I am pretty well grounded in the fact that I am not going to get famous, I won’t make money and I probably won’t make a career out of it,but I can’t deny the fact that writing it necessary for me to live the life I want to live. So, I will continue to write.

    • I’m so happy this spoke to your heart, Sydney. I love your perspective.

  • Pingback: Comment to “Do You Want to Make Money at Writing? | Sydney Aaliyah Writes()

  • Benita Tyler

    So what if I’m fifty- that just means I’ve been rebirth through God’s love. I am now able to feel the joy and peace in life you get from second opportunities. It’s my chance to get things right. I no longer have to apologize for being me! I’m finding that writing is a platform which allows me to express myself in ways I had not in the past. I’ve written a memoir and my second book is forthcoming. It is cathartic to have a release, to let go, and to reach an audience in motivating ways. Being an open book isn’t easy, but it helps to bring closure and healing. What an awesome gift- it has always brought me joy. I love to bring smiles to people’s faces. God is love! He loved me enough to tap me on the shoulder and tell me that my re birthing was necessary to achieve the work He has for me. He whispered in my ear: let me offer you joy, healing and an outlet, lifting your voice and make a difference

    • Benita, you’re right when you say being an open book isn’t easy. It exposes your pages to spills and tears and dog-eared pages. But then, that makes you a well-read book and much more attractive to readers.

      • Benita Tyler

        Thanks Barb for the vote of confidence! I agree writers need to be transparent. I love sharing ideals-I’m very excited about sharpening my writing skills with skillful writer such as yourself.

        • Yvette Carol

          I agree with you both. Transparent is the perfect word. It’s an exquisite sort of agony to be transparent, don’t you think?

  • letmein

    I began writing as a serious endeavor about 2 years ago. Before that I wrote police reports. In a way, a police report tells a story. The narrative section of a crime report should always include the who, what, when, where, and how of what happened.

    Two years ago, after a lot of encouragement from my wife, I began to write as something more than just to pass the time. I took classes, I read, I wrote short stories, I read, and then I read some more. It got to the point where I looked forward to writing every day.

    When I read this post I began to think about why I spend so much of my day either writing, or learning about writing. Here is some of what I came up with as reasons.

    I’ve never thought I could be a good enough writer to make a living at it.
    I have never written a story longer than 8,000 words, although I am beginning to put together a comprehensive outline to write a novel about my grandmother’s last years in Italy.

    I have a lot to say.
    I’ve led an active life. Twenty-one years as a police officer. Seven years as a triathlete. I’m an accomplished chef. I have won awards for baking and cake decorating. I spent four years in Army Intelligence. I served in a war. I lived for 2 years in Europe.

    I love.
    My wife and I have been married for 43 years. We met in high school, and since that time she has taught me not only how to love, but how to accept that I am loved. I think the love and compassion I learned from my wife shows up in many of my stories. Compassion is a necessary ingredient in the stories I write.

    I write because I don’t want to forget what it felt like to hold my granddaughter for the very first time. I write because I want to always remember the love I saw in my wife’s eyes when she said, “I do.”

    I write because it allows me to make up friends when I’m lonely.

    And I write because if I don’t, how will anyone know that I was here.

  • I don’t know how this got logged in as letmein.

    Here’s why I write.

    I began writing as a serious endeavor about 2 years ago. Before that I wrote police reports. In a way, a police report tells a story. The narrative section of a crime report should always include the who, what, when, where, and how of what happened.

    Two years ago, after a lot of encouragement from my wife, I began to write as something more than just to pass the time. I took classes, I read, I wrote short stories, I read, and then I read some more. It got to the point where I looked forward to writing every day.

    When I read this post I began to think about why I spend so much of my day either writing, or learning about writing. Here is some of what I came up with as reasons.

    I’ve never thought I could be a good enough writer to make a living at it.
    I have never written a story longer than 8,000 words, although I am beginning to put together a comprehensive outline to write a novel about my grandmother’s last years in Italy.

    I have a lot to say.
    I’ve led an active life. Twenty-one years as a police officer. Seven years as a triathlete. I’m an accomplished chef. I have won awards for baking and cake decorating. I spent four years in Army Intelligence. I served in a war. I lived for 2 years in Europe.

    I love.
    My wife and I have been married for 43 years. We met in high school, and since that time she has taught me not only how to love, but how to accept that I am loved. I think the love and compassion I learned from my wife shows up in many of my stories. Compassion is a necessary ingredient in the stories I write.

    I write because I don’t want to forget what it felt like to hold my granddaughter for the very first time. I write because I want to always remember the love I saw in my wife’s eyes when she said, “I do.”

    I write because it allows me to make up friends when I’m lonely.

    And I write because if I don’t, how will anyone know that I was here.

    • Marianne Vest

      I think people will remember you but they may not remember the Angelo that you want them to remember. You have a lot to tell about. I’m glad you’re writing. I wrote reports at work too, histories of the patients and plans for their rehabilitation. It does give you a lot of writing practice.

    • Yvette Carol

      You brought tears to my eyes from the holding your granddaughter for the first time, on! But then I think your writing does that for a lot of people (reading the comments sections). And I was going to say the same as Marianne, that people will remember you, for the life you have lived. However, that does not demean the spirit behind why you write.

  • I love this.

    I write to write…I write because it’s freeing and healing and helps me find my back to where I want to be: here, Now. I love writing, and I LOVE editing.

    Now that people are reading what I write, there is some fear and uncertainty, and some questions…who am I writing for? Do I want to do more than write a blog? Why didn’t anyone comment?!? I can get way off track with all of the questions and worries that come up.

    But when I come back to “I love writing,” there is relief.

    Thanks for this reminder.

  • How about writing to, ya’ know, change the world! Okay, everyone gather around the campfire for s’mores and Kumbaya!! (All said tongue in cheek as I just spent time writing on my guitar blog and ranting about how much I love Jimi Hendrix.)

  • It’s a funny thing, this famous thing. Every writer I heard talk about how they MADE IT, (Because once you get that book deal it’s all easy street right?) talks about the journey. I’m not sure I believe them bc I’m pretty sure my bed will magically make itself in the morning once I MAKE IT.

    Once I MAKE IT, there won’t be bills to pay and absolutely no one will ever nag me or remind me (like an editor or agent) about deadlines.

    Once I MAKE IT, people will light up and recognize me when I walk into the room.

    Once I MAKE IT, I will have a eternal sense of well being and be transported away from my hardships of life.

    Wait a second…

    When I write I’m going to new places and I’m like, happy. When I’m happy I light up a room and people (mainly my family and friends who are the people that count) recognize me and want to me near me. Hmm…

    Holy crap! I have MADE IT!

  • Themagicviolinist

    For those of you who have read the first chapter of my book “The Maze of Doom,” thank you so much for your help! 😀 I have the second chapter here if any of you would help me out with this one, too, if you don’t mind. I hope you enjoy it! 😀

    Chapter 2

    “You have completed your training,” President Hunter said in his booming voice. “Please retire to your bedroom located on the second floor.”
    I didn’t look at anybody, even though everybody was looking at me.
    I went down the elevator and onto the second floor and found a room with a removable plaque that said ‘Clelia’. I entered and closed the door, locking it behind me. I didn’t trust anyone here.
    The room was small, but comfortable. Plain white walls, a large window, a small bathroom big enough to shower and use the toilet, and a tall bed with five feather pillows. There was a fridge hidden away in a corner. I opened it and found some food that would be handy in the maze; A half a loaf of bread, a juice box, a bottle of water, an apple, and a block of cheddar cheese.
    I looked around for a bag or something to put the food in for the maze but found nothing. There was a phone beside my bed. Maybe I could call room service for a bag, and maybe some rope. You can never go wrong with rope.
    I picked up the phone and hit the button that said “Room Service”. It dialed and then a woman picked up.
    “Room service, how may I help you?”
    “Hi,” I said. “Could I have a bag, maybe a drawstring bag, and some rope?”
    “What room are you in?”
    “This is Clelia. I’m in my room.”
    “Someone will deliver your drawstring bag and rope to your room in ten minutes.”
    “Thanks.”
    I hung up the phone.
    I was tired. After strength, agility, climbing, and weaponry training, I was worn out.
    I un-sheathed my dagger and hid it inside the nightstand drawer. After the dagger was well hidden, I plopped down on my bed and rested for a while. I had to keep myself awake, because I knew room service would be here soon.
    There was a knock on the door.
    “Come in,” I called. But then I remembered the door was locked. I jumped up to unlock it.
    “Here is your bag and your rope,” The room service lady said. “Have a nice day.”
    She left without another word and I was left in the doorway holding my new items.
    I took the items inside my room and closed the door. I put all the food inside my bag, along with the rope. It was surprising light, for how much food I put in there. I took my dagger out of the nightstand and hid it with the drawstring bag behind my many pillows. Then an idea crossed my mind. Why not ask for more?
    There wouldn’t be much to ask for, since I wasn’t that good at any other weapons, and I didn’t want to slow myself down by having lots of food and weapons in my bag, but some things could come in handy.
    I picked up the phone again.
    “Room service, how may I help you?”
    “Hi, could I have a box of matches, a few daggers, and a bomb?”
    “I’m sorry, we are not allowed to supply contestants with weapons. Contestants are only allowed one weapon each at the beginning of the Maze.”
    “Oh, right.”
    I hung up the phone, disappointed. I had forgotten about the “one weapon only” rule.
    There wasn’t much to do except take a nap, and I was already awake. A mixture of excitement, worry, and curiosity was bubbling up inside me, like a volcano ready to erupt.
    I decided to explore the tall building. The floor I was on right now seemed like a large hotel for the maze contestants and the workers. I couldn’t figure out how President Hunter would keep the girls from bumping into each other.
    I walked around the floor looking for an elevator or staircase, but I couldn’t find anything. That’s when I noticed two signs on a door.
    The first sign was a label that read ‘Staircase.’ The second sign was a piece of paper taped to the door. It said, ‘If you are a maze contestant, do not wander around. Stay in your room unless told to come out. Signed, President Hunter.’ So that was how he was going to keep the contestants from seeing each other.
    I walked back to my room, not keen on breaking any rules. I’ve seen how people have been treated for breaking a rule much smaller than that. Once, a girl in my class accidentally dropped her math book. Causing a distraction was against the rules. The teacher was female (a male teacher is very uncommon), so she had to send the girl home with a hundred dollar fine to her parents. A hundred dollars is a lot of money. Everything in the country is expensive, and all the jobs pay poorly. All women at the age of twelve and higher have to get a job. Men can work, but usually don’t, since they are usually the ones hiring the women, and are extremely lazy. It’s like we’re their slaves. My dad, though, being a good man, works a job, as a cashier at a grocery store. Being a male, he gets paid far more than the females, but even with my dad working, we only have enough money to buy food for the week. The minimum wage for females is three dollars an hour. And that’s what everyone pays. Since I’m only fourteen, I get a smaller work time. I work four hours every Monday and Thursday. Total, I bring twenty four dollars home for my family of three each week. My mom brings home about the same amount.
    With nothing left to do, I walk back into my room and sit down on my bed.
    I think for a while, then lay down and pretend I’m laying on my back in the grass, trying to count the millions of stars, then un-sheath my dagger and admire it’s blade. I can see my reflection, and I’m surprised to see how much I’ve grown. With no money leftover in our house after a weeks’ worth of work, we can’t afford to buy extra things like mirrors.
    I sheath it again and put it back behind my pillows. Then an idea hits me.
    I pick up the phone and hit the ‘Room Service’ button once again. I wait and then hear the sound that means the line is busy.
    I hang up the phone. Either President Hunter is ordering room service, or the other contestants have the same idea.
    I try to call again, and this time it rings.
    “Room service, how may I help you?”
    “Hi,” I said again. “I’d like two bottles of water, three chicken legs, a pear, some baby carrots, a jar of nuts, a potato, and a package of salt.”
    “That’ll be eight dollars and twenty nine cents.”
    “What?” President Hunter must’ve figured out what the contestants were doing already. I would bet anything all the other contestants had ordered something and then President Hunter figured out what we were doing. He wanted us to pay him if we were going to keep ourselves from starving to death. Too bad for him, I had a trick up my sleeve. Literally. I had stashed some cash up my sleeve in case something like this happened. Of course, my parents said it would be ok, given the circumstances.
    I pulled out my twenty dollar bill and grinned.
    “Do you have change for that?”

    • Marianne Vest

      At the end are you talking to someone on the phone when you ask them if they have change for a twenty? It so ask it they have change for a twenty. They can’t see it if they are on the phone.

    • Marianne Vest

      At the end are you talking to someone on the phone when you ask them if they have change for a twenty? It so ask it they have change for a twenty. They can’t see it if they are on the phone.

  • Yvette Carol

    How sweet it is to be asked, why I write…I’m sure you’ll believe me when I say that no one who knows me ever asks me that sort of question, for fear I’ll never stop talking!! Writing is my fave topic in the world.
    I write because I am here, and it’s as natural a part of who I am as breathing.
    When I was young I used to be ‘proud’ of my ability to write. Everyone at school knew writing stories was ‘my thing’. And that pride blinded me for many years. I wrote stories and expected them to appeal to other people because it was so easy for me. It took many years of rejections before it sunk in, that just having a talent was not enough in the real world. To be able to share my writing in a meaningful way I needed to learn about craft.
    In my own dogged, piecemeal way, in between the begetting and raising of children (which I am still in the middle of), I have studied writing.
    I believe that these days I have a bit more of a clue. But I don’t live under the notion that this learning process will ever end. I now know that being open to learning is what is healthiest for me. I have learned a great deal from ‘The Write Practice’ already!
    I still do not have any of my stories in print however!! It’s just that I no longer go round with chest puffed out, thinking I’m the ‘be all and end all’. I am humbled enough to have an open spirit.
    Writing is a gift, a joy, a magical escape, a form of self expression. And in a fantastic way, as David Galland said last year, ‘by writing every day I don’t ever need a psychiatrist’. I work out all my ya-ya’s on paper 🙂

  • Themagicviolinist

    Oh, I didn’t notice that DISQUIS, thanks! 😀

  • LKWatts

    Hi Joe,

    Well, I wouldn’t know what to do if I couldn’t write again – I think it would be a fate worse than death! Guess that shows you I’m a true writer, too 😉

  • Thanks for taking the pressure off me. I have written daily for more than 20 years and only recently decided to call myself “writer.” But nothing different happened. I still got up and wrote in the morning. I can’t not do that. I flail around for the rest of the day if I don’t write. Now that I call myself writer, other people have expectations of me – make money at it. I make money editing but I don’t like to write for other people. I’d just as soon write for the day and be done with it. I do have a blog now and that inspires me to put messages out for my friends to read. I get a stranger or two now and then, too. It’s nice. But no one has sent me any money for it and I don’t really care. Thanks for letting that be okay.

  • Allyhawkins

    I was fortunate to have my own column for two and a half years. Our readership was small, under 5000 readers, but I did have a loyal following(my column was the entertainment in town). I really liked it when people came up to tell me that they liked what I wrote that week. I also was paid enough to cover gas, some groceries and a few bills.
    Unfortunately, when I left in October, my column died. I wish my former editor knew how many people told me that my column was the most positive thing in the paper each week and was why they read the paper.
    I also met some great people.
    If you have the chance to write for your newspaper, try it. It’s nice to get that immediate feedback each week.
    Then’s there’s the short stories and novels in progress. However, having a deadline every week tuned my writing skills that has helped my fiction projects. I’ll continue to write even without an audience.

  • Sheila

    I want to write. I
    see the blank paper and I want to fill it up with words that are funny, smart,
    and endearing. I want to see my name in
    print and feel that pride in what I have created. I stare at the screen and I start, then I
    stop, then I get discouraged, then fifteen ideas attack me at one time, then
    the phone rings, and I have homework to do, and I have to go to work, and
    settle a fight between my kids, and spend time with my husband, and, and….well
    nothing ever gets written. There is
    nothing like being plugged into your story, to know where it is heading and
    know exactly how to get there. The
    problem is when you get to the point where all you have are interesting starts
    and no earthly idea of what to do to make the story come alive. The fear of being bad at the thing I love
    stops me. I read what I write to people,
    or let them read it and they tell me how talented I am, and I feel like a
    fraud. I say, “I am a writer” and I feel
    like a fraud, because what I really am is a legal secretary getting ready to
    smack the 40 year mark in her life, and I have published exactly ONE short
    story. I had time to write it, I closed
    the door but the distraction and life keep beating it down and breaking my
    concentration. As I sit here and write
    this, I am getting the look from my husband who wants me to stop typing and
    come and watch the movie already, but, but, I just got started…..sigh, oh well,
    what is one more day, I have only been saying that for about twenty years now……

  • trevorburns1028

    I don’t just write because I feel that it feeds me per say, but much different. Different in a way that I have never seen in anyone else, nor will I see it in the rest of this lifetime. This may be biased, yes, but it is so for a reason.
    Consider it a small start of what I have lost throughout the last three years of writing in solitude.
    The difference is this: I write because it is the prerequisite of what I have found to be the easiest form of practicing complex, deep thought. I write, not only for the self satisfaction of finishing what I believe can eventually make a difference somewhere, somehow, but due to the neuroplasticity of its very nature.
    I realize that it is small, easily pronounced words that evoke favorable attitudes, but I only see this fact as disappointing. The reason for this, is the reason why I feel so alone all the time, but enough with the self loathing, I’m sure those who cannot relate only find it to be annoying.
    In terms of making money though, I have only enough wish to obtain it that my need to survive will allow, anything further, is to be spent on what can healthily provide better cognitive function.
    Alot of people view me as strange, but also fail to realize the sheepishness that I refuse to conform to. And I will maintain this view point throughout the rest of my days. Anything else would mean that I have merely given up hope.
    I refuse to discuss topics of interest with anyone other than open minded, logical perspectives, and find emotions to get in the way more than they are needed in terms of discussion. I see discussing anything to the emotional one’s other than that which is also emotional, is instead arguing, and progress will be extinguished the very second it is lit, if even that were the case.
    I dropped out of high school as a freshman, and know that through using induction of this fact alone, those who read will only see these words as mere misconceptions that are to be dismissed the very second it is symmetrically processed. All biased I know but not necessarily false, so good enough for me, going by my motive of all of this being existant in the first place, which is for the neuroplasticity of all the elements you see, if in fact that is the case.
    I would greatly appreciate any and all advice that is given that does not require conforming to the preferences of sheep. 🙂

    • trevorburns1028

      I meant to say assymetrically processed lol

  • trevorburns1028

    I don’t just write because I feel that it feeds me per say, but much different. Different in a way that I have never seen in anyone else, nor will I see it in the rest of this lifetime. This may be biased, yes, but it is so for a reason.
    Consider it a small start of what I have lost throughout the last three years of writing in solitude.
    The difference is this: I write because it is the prerequisite of what I have found to be the easiest form of practicing complex, deep thought. I write, not only for the self satisfaction of finishing what I believe can eventually make a difference somewhere, somehow, but due to the neuroplasticity of its very nature.
    I realize that it is small, easily pronounced words that evoke favorable attitudes, but I only see this fact as disappointing. The reason for this, is the reason why I feel so alone all the time, but enough with the self loathing, I’m sure those who cannot relate only find it to be annoying.
    In terms of making money though, I have only enough wish to obtain it that my need to survive will allow, anything further, is to be spent on what can healthily provide better cognitive function.
    Alot of people view me as strange, but also fail to realize the sheepishness that I refuse to conform to. And I will maintain this view point throughout the rest of my days. Anything else would mean that I have merely given up hope.
    I refuse to discuss topics of interest with anyone other than open minded, logical perspectives, and find emotions to get in the way more than they are needed in terms of discussion. I see discussing anything to the emotional one’s other than that which is also emotional, is instead arguing, and progress will be extinguished the very second it is lit, if even that were the case.
    I dropped out of high school as a freshman, and know that through using induction of this fact alone, those who read will only see these words as mere misconceptions that are to be dismissed the very second it is symmetrically processed. All biased I know but not necessarily false, so good enough for me, going by my motive of all of this being existant in the first place, which is for the neuroplasticity of all the elements you see, if in fact that is the case.
    I would greatly appreciate any and all advice that is given that does not require conforming to the preferences of sheep. 🙂

    • trevorburns1028

      I meant assymetrically processed lol

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  • Kaitlin Werts

    (Written on 12/15/15)
    I don’t think I’ve ever asked the question all writers supposedly ask themselves at some point.

    Why I write…
    I’ve been storytelling before I can remember,
    ever since I was little my head was in other worlds,
    within the dreams I created at day.
    I wove them into the deep recesses of the mind, so that dreams became memories and memories became dreams.

    I don’t think of writing as a talent,
    its more of a need.
    My fingers tingle in anticipation,
    desperate to have themselves wrapped around the stalk of an ink dispenser
    or feel the smooth keys of a type board beneath them.
    The tingling won’t stop until I’m sated,
    until the last word my mind and body are begging me to write is written.