What Is Your Writing Worth?

Let’s say you won the lottery

would you still write-

Putting the idea of the lottery aside, let’s say you don’t need to write for food and rent. Somehow that’s taken care of. Inheritance. Another job. A spouse that brings in enough. So the question becomes, if there wasn’t money (or at least its possibility) at the end of the stick 

Would you still write (3)

What if your writing never gave you any financial gains. Didn’t allow you to quit your day (or night) job, travel, buy that cottage by the sea, and attend all the writing conferences you wanted to.

SODA (2)

What is your writing worth? Do you measure it by the hours spent in front of your computer?

Do you include the research? The café lattes? The bottles of wine that you emptied in the name of inspiration?

Is the success of your writing tangled up with how much of your writing you sell?

What about those hidden costs? The time not spent with friends or family? The hours struggling over a paragraph when you could be peacefully hiking in the woods or finally going to that film festival you’ve been promising yourself to attend ?

What does writing mean to you? What would make you stop writing? 

 

41 thoughts on “What Is Your Writing Worth?

  1. If I won the lottery, I’d write fiction fulltime and not try to balance it with my day jobs (I’m a freelance writer/editor). I have one novel (published 2015), one coming (2016) and some published short stories. I am nowhere near making enough money to pay the groceries, let alone the rent! But I just love it. The freedom to write fulltime: priceless.

  2. I would still write because A) I do it now with no financial gain, B) I suspect that financial abundance will be tied to this gift I have, and C) I’m compelled to write, no matter what.

  3. Well, considering I haven’t made enough on my books to even cover my costs, I figure writing isn’t about money for me. I would stop if my husband or children or grandchildren needed me. That’s the only reason 😀

  4. Hi Carol, Excellent post! I would still write if I won the lottery and like Carrie wouldn’t worry so much about marketing. I’d also consider enrolling in a MFA program. 🙂

  5. Great question, one I’ve already come to terms with. It’s my hobby, like people golf or sail or game. I write. I expect nothing, but wouldn’t turn it away.

    What about you?

    • Jacqui, If I don’t write I feel something is missing. Generally, writing lifts me up. It’s also a great way to meet other people, like you. If I had to depend writing for my room and board I’d be homeless and eating in soup kitchens.

  6. Considering that I’ve been writing for over a decade without making a dime…
    Of course, I haven’t actually put it out there for people to read. I really hope people will read it and like it when I do, and making some money would be nice, but really, it’s the most fun I’ve ever had doing anything. So, yes, I’d still write.

  7. I can make a lot more money doing other things than writing. Writing is a financial sinkhole for most writers, especially if they are honest about it. Once the $15/hour minimum wage goes through in the U.S. I can work at McDonalds and make more. In fact, at $7.25/hour I can still make more at McDonalds. So definitely, yes, writing is something separate from $ for me.

  8. Would I still write if I won the lottery? That’s like asking if you can still play the piano after you break your arm…(joke…that’s funny….I could never play before!) So, that’s my answer…..I don’t know how to write now so….sure, I’d keep writing! LOL

  9. I already write for free, so winning the lottery is not a determinant (ha!) — although it would be quite inspirational to jot down ideas from a bistro in Paris or looking onto the Swiss Alps. I already know that I (most likely) will never make a dime on my writing, so I write with gusto and love and confusion with a ssatisfying conclusion that I’m doing what I love.

  10. For me, writing isn’t a choice, it’s a passion and a hunger and a soul-satisfying way of life. So, already, I write with little financial gain. I do earn respect from my friends and family for keeping at it, but I’d still write without it (and many acquaintances don’t at all understand the time and effort writing takes, and think it’s a WASTE of my time because there’s no financial benefit). Writing comes from my heart; thus, I’m going to keep beating/writing.

  11. If I won the lottery, maybe I would finally have time to write. To not write would mean my spirit has moved on to another incarnation where I would write in whatever form was available to my soul.

  12. Excellent post! Most of my writing is for me. It has not and probably will never earn me anything other than a sense of accomplishment. That being said, what my writing is not worth is time sacrificed from my family, especially my kids. I love to write. It’s a part of who I am, but not all that I am. I want my kids to remember that I was present in the moment with them. Not distracted when we were playing, or ignoring them to stare at a computer screen. It means I have to work extra hard to fit in time to write, along with everything else adult life demands, but it’s worth it. Now, maybe when they’re older and more independent, they’ll see me doing something I love and exercising my creativity. And hopefully they’ll learn the value of doing things in life that you love, but that don’t necessarily bring you fame, fortune, or anything other than personal satisfaction.

  13. In retirement I am technically free to write all the time, but as I am also free to do all the other things I planned for retirement, it works out about the same. I have wondered if, when my non-fiction Far East POW book is finally out this June and all the business of marketing and giving talks dies down, I will finally get back to fiction. I have parts of a novel started two years ago ad laid aside. I can’t tell at the moment. I want to be in my garden, but I may not be able to live without writing and I hate unfinished projects. I’ll come back to you on this in six months time.

  14. This post really gets my mind going – which is the sign of good writing, Carol! I don’t think anything would ever make me give up writing; at least, I hope not because I feel like writing is a part of me and I wouldn’t be whole without it!

  15. Great question Carol. I’m certainly not making a living with book sales, so I can’t say I’m in it for the money. Writing has always been my sanity. With that said, all the money in the world couldn’t stop me from writing, maybe just make things easier without spending time on promoting and marketing, which I’ve been sorrily lacking in these past few months. I truly believe if we love to write, there is no retirement. 🙂

  16. My writing has never given me anything materialistic or worldly. Even when I was writing articles for an organization’s newsletter, I wasn’t paid for it. Instead, it was one of the “minor” tasks of my job as a financial representative of clients with special needs. I wrote the articles because I was an advocate for these clients. All my benefits from writing these days, thus far, are purely emotional.

  17. This is a great post, Carol and I’ve also enjoyed reading through all the comments – if there was a ‘like’ button I would I pressed it for every single one. Like everyone else, I would absolutely continue writing – as I’m not earning any money (so far!) from writing, winning a lottery wouldn’t change that. Since writing has been part of my life one way or another since I could write, money would not change my feeling about it. It’s a passion, a need, a sanity-leveller – if ones work is a chore, mundane, stress-inducing, then I can believe that winning the lottery would be a saviour and result in immediate career change.

  18. I don`t think anything would stop me writing. If I won the lottery I would still write but in a comfy nice house with a study all of my own with sea views.

  19. I enjoy writing and it stimulates my mind and imagination. I would give up blogging if I had someone to sit with while eating dinner, watching TV or movies, and would explore the adult world more. I mainly have a few good friends and my social life is grandchildren. I would give up writing blog posts but would continue painting and children’s book writing. Smiles, Robin

  20. I write and photograph because I have to. It’s has become a need within to satisfy myself and if I am lucky will move others a bit.

  21. I always expect to get enough money from writing, and when finally my article published in a magazine and I just got a little money, I no longer expect to make money from writing, I just write for fun.
    Of course I will continue to write as long as my fingers can still be moved, because writing is a joy for me. 🙂
    And I always hope one day I will get a lottery to buy a good device for writing 😀

  22. Carol – Powerful post you’ve written here. I always thought nothing would keep me from writing and then I was faced with Tom’s catastrophic health problems starting Jan 2016. I was flattened. My emotions were taken up by prayers, meditations as scattered as they were and more prayers. I ‘think’ I wrote in my head but I can’t be sure of that. I’d scribble notes but those were primarily notes so I’d remember to ask specific doctors questions. At one time we had 16 doctors coordinating his care and that scarred me as much as the actual care he was receiving. Can 16 doctors agree on anything at the same time I’d ask myself.
    I’d jot entries in my journal from time to time but as in the past, these were often broken sentences of raw emotion pouring out in various means – I couldn’t blog. I missed my blogging friends. I barely kept friends and family updated on Facebook and I don’t consider that writing. Life was crazy and still is but I’ve finally picked up my pen again. It’s the only thing that will keep me from a dark and deep depression. Writing for me is not so much about the money but about the need to communicate with others and share what I’ve learned in hopes they won’t have to encounter what Tom and I have been through. Still a great question and I consider writing as a need on many basic levels. As a college freshman [a million years ago] the need to write my parents once a week and the need for me to receive a letter from them at least once a week was a vital necessity to my well being.

    • Writing demands of us our emotional attention and a connection to our heart and soul. It’s no wonder that with Tom’s illness your heart and soul was elsewhere, and so it should be.
      I can’t imagine dealing with 16 doctors at once. It must have been overwhelming for you and for Tom.
      I like very much how you expressed your emotions in this comment regarding your need to write and to communicate with others. I hope that life is a lot less crazy for you and that we’ll get to read more of your posts. All the best, Sheri. ❤

  23. I write when inspiration strikes, or, occasionally, when a competition is coming on and I want to submit an entry no matter what… So far, I haven’t made any money out of it, but I live in hope… Most of all I enjoy the satisfaction of reading a good review of my work. So really, the bottom line fr me is, money is less important than everything else, though I could most certainly use it. 🙂

  24. Carol, I hope this isn’t too forward but you didn’t respond to over 20 friends here. This puzzled me but thought maybe you might see this new comment and may enjoy such diverse and interesting responses! 🙂

  25. I write because I enjoy it. That has always been the main reason I write. I love to build worlds and see them grow. I love to share those worlds with others. Given a choice where I wouldn’t have to write to support my family, I would still continue to write.

    I don’t make any money on my writing (Not for lack of trying) yet, but I do hope that I can make this a career and that people enjoy the worlds that I create.

    Either way, a thoughtful article. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks for your comment. I so appreciate it and I’m sorry that I’m only responding now but I’ve just returned from a long holiday from blogging.
      I do truly wish you a career from writing. 🙂

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