Why do we do it?

The Author’s Guild has just published their 2018 Author’s Income Survey.
The largest survey of writing-related earnings by American authors finds incomes falling to historic lows to a median of $6,080 in 2017, down 42 percent from 2009.

For more on this survey, you can click this link: https://www.authorsguild.org/industry-advocacy/authors-guild-survey-shows-drastic-42-percent-decline-in-authors-earnings-in-last-decade/

Hmmm. That doesn’t bode well for us authors. And to be totally honest, I’d be ecstatic to make $6,000 per year from my books. I don’t personally know any Indie author who makes that much money per year from book sales alone.

So, I have to ask myself, “why do it?” Why spend hours, days, weeks and months toiling over work that only a handful people will read?

As most of you know, I never intended to be an author. That was never my goal in life. I just had a story that had to be told and I was the only one who could tell it.

But, since the last of the four books were published in 2017, I haven’t found a place to stop writing. It truly becomes a passion. I looked up “passion” in Merriam Webster’s dictionary and found this:
intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction
a strong liking or desire for or devotion to some activity, object, or concept

Yep. That pretty much describes it.

The photo says it all. I dared to follow my passion, to tell a story that burned inside me, and it has now lead me to my purpose. That purpose is to write — whether it be stories (true or fiction), magazine interviews, or record reviews — it is now my purpose in life.

Of course, I would love nothing more than to be able to make a living writing. But, based on reality and the statistics shown by the Author’s Guild, that isn’t likely.

There are simply some things in life that are more important than money.

Passion and Purpose!

I’d love to hear your thoughts about the survey and your passion for writing. Does it give you purpose? Do you ever think about stopping? What would you do with yourself if you did stop? Have you ever tried?

I can’t imagine what I’d do every day if I suddenly stopped writing. Nope. I’m going to keep on writing money be damned!

28 thoughts on “Why do we do it?

  1. You’ve spoken for all of us, Jan. I doubt any of us planned on becoming a writer. We thought of everything else: teacher, nurse, farmer, doctor. Then life intervened, took us on a whirlwind ride, and suddenly we had to write. We didn’t have a choice. We had found another life, one of purpose and alas, money has little to do with it. ♥ .

    Liked by 2 people

    1. So true, Gwen. I’m always amazed when someone is interviewed and say they’d always dreamed of being a writer. That was my sister. Her one huge goal in life was to be a published author. But, as she found out many books later, you can’t stop with just one. 🙂 Thanks so much for dropping by and leaving a comment. Have a great Sunday!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I would love to make a living writing and I haven’t completely given up on that idea yet. I have my moments where I wonder why I’m writing as an author definitely. I have so much inside of me that has to come and writing is the only way I know how to do this. Even if its downgraded to a hobby I’m sure the words will always flow. Great topic Jan. Something we all struggle with.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for your input, Denise. You’ve defined struggles we all deal with. I love it when you say, “I have so much inside of me that has to come…” Beautiful! That’s what it’s all about, my friend. Hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. A very interesting subject, Jan. I always knew I wanted to write. Words and stories have always burned inside me but money never entered into it. I never thought about fame or fortune. When I first published, I said that if I could touch one person’s heart with something I wrote then I’d consider myself a success. And I certainly think I did that with Knight on the Texas Plains. That story was truly inspired and like you said, it bled over to my passion and purpose in life. I can no more stop than I can cut off a limb. There is no stopping. The more I write, the more stories that keep coming. It’s like an endless river. But I have to say that this is not an easy job. Writing is darn hard! But I love it. I really love telling stories and making up these fabulous characters that have enriched my life a thousand fold.

    I try to imagine what my life will be like when I’m 80. HAHA! My shoulders will probably be hunched over and I’ll be wearing thick glasses. But I’ll still be sitting in front of a computer, typing away, my fingers gnarled, but my thoughts whirling.

    I’m glad you caught the writing bug, sister. You have a gift for it so join the rest of us. Love you.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. What beautiful input, sister! There is no stopping the flow once it starts. Knight on the Texas Plains was such a powerful story and yes, it was inspired. And I remember you saying, “If I can just get one book published…” Well, here you are so many years and so many books later still at it. You inspire me. I love your description of being 80. 🙂 I won’t be far behind you and we’ll still be sipping coffee on Sunday mornings and talking about our stories. 🙂 I love you!!

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      1. Jan, I still don’t think about money. I get paid twice a year so twice a year I have enough to live on but the rest of the time is pretty darn lean. My kids have the odd impression that I sit around counting stacks of money. HaHa! They have no idea what this life is like. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. A good while back, when it became obvious self publishing was the only way, we started down that path with Cyberspouse happy to give technical help, but not expecting me to sell any books. He was impressed that I had sold some books, but asked ‘At what stage are you going to call it a day?’
    Me, with gritted teeth ‘WHAT did you say, I assumed I was going to keep writing till I die, perhaps even after that!’

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well-said, Tidal scribe! Especially the part about keeping writing until you die and then perhaps after that. 🙂 I think lots of these stories come from beyond the veil. Thank you so much for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Jan. This reality saddens me but it doesn’t discourage me at all. Of course I would love to make money doing what I love but . . . I feel like I was born to write, and I don’t think I could ever give it up. It would be like giving up water, food or oxygen. How long can one last without these things? I truly hope that the situation improves but I’m not holding my breath. In the meantime, I’ll keep on writing. Thanks for the information and your wonderful insight.💗

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Absolutely, Vashti! You are right. It would be like giving up water, food or oxygen. We can’t live long without those things for sure. And you’re right. We’ll keep on writing because it what drives us. It is our passion! Thank you so much for stopping by. I loved your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. So half the writers are above the median and half below. I think the decline of 42 percent since 2009 is a function of the number of indie authors who have come on the scene since 2009. I have always believed I would never make money writing. The reason is simple. I want to write what I want to write and do not want to rely on others. The query process takes so much time and the odds of hitting what someone else is interested in supporting so remote, I decided a long time ago to stop.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I guess $6K seems about right to me, Jan. If you think about the last decade and the huge influx of indie authors (many who have no idea how to market or aren’t willing to put in the time and effort), the falling average makes a lot of sense. But I completely COMPLETELY agree with your point that this vocation is one of love. Otherwise, it’s insane! Lol.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Income or no, I’m in this for the long haul. I started writing in grade school and never stopped.I don’t think it’s possible. If I go more than a week without writing, I begin to suffer withdrawal symptoms.I would love to supplement my income with a decent writing salary, but the reality is that probably won’t happen. If I can stay in the black, with income above my expenses, I’ll be happy. The problem with not exceeding that is not about writing. Its about having an A-type personality that tells me if I haven’t succeeded then I must have failed. Blech!

    It’s hard moving past that mindset, but I’m determined to do that moving ahead. Lately, I’ve been re-examining things and thinking about the luxury of just writing for me—no deadlines, no sales rankings, no chasing dollar signs. It’s a constant battle between the part of me that wants to relax and a personality that insists I have to do more. Ugh!

    Thanks for the reminder that we practice our craft for the LOVE of writing, Jan. Great post!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for weighing in, Mae. I understand about writing withdrawals. It’s a common affliction amongst us writers. 🙂 I totally understand the examining things. But, keep in mind that when you have a publisher, you aren’t having to foot all the bills like us Indie author. So, be sure before you drop out. 🙂 Sage advice. I wish you success with whatever you do! Hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. One of my editing clients has always been indie, and she is the sole provider for her family (her, husband, and two kids). So I do know someone who made it happen. She works hard and publishes often, but she also has the marketing angle figured out. (Something I still haven’t managed to do.)

    I hope to get to that point someday, although I’m doubtful I will. (Maybe that’s what’s holding me back.) But I can’t imagine not writing. While it’s not currently paying all my bills, it is my passion.

    Thanks for sharing, Jan.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Oh, Staci! How awesome to hear of an Indie author who is actually providing for her family through her writing. I’d surely love to pick her brain. 🙂 The marketing angle is the most difficult parts of this whole business of writing and the part I hate. I have an idea. You learn from your client, you go out there and do it and then you can teach us. 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That was my plan, Jan. There seems to be a breakdown in the process somewhere. (I have a feeling it’s me.)

      How’s this for impressive? She has been listed as #1 in her category while Stephen King came in at #2. Like I said, she works really hard.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. That is SO true, Staci. I have often said the same words about my off-the-wall spiritual beliefs such as working with Tarot cards and Crystals. If nothing else, they are not harmful and a fun way to pass the time. Have an awesome Monday!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. After the intensity of writing my book I am just recently feeling creative again..little flickers of light.. My story was So deep and intense, murders, death dying it was like psychotherapy processing all of the chapters. Not to mention the time it took to document and get approved some of those cases. I wanted them cleared before going to print. I am now hovering over the thought of doing the audio of the book.. energy is shifting from being in the Cave to getting out there again.. so all in good time.. I need to do a blog also you are an inspiration. I remember years ago in Dallas when I read for you and saw your writing that sure was a “Bingo” and you are a Great writer to add to that.

    Liked by 1 person

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