The Happy Dance Manifesto

I’ve seen a lot of changes in the little circle of blogs I follow lately. My writing partner Ellie Soderstrom has recently branched out from the group blog she contributed to in order to start her own little venture. Freelance writer Austin Wulf has taken his blog in more of a freestyle direction. And last, and most dramatic of the three, Evelyn LaFont better known to us Twitterites as The Keyboard Hussy has anounced she’ll stop posting on her writing blog altogether.

A while back I posted about the whiplash our little blogging community has had to Kristen Lamb’s assertion that writers shouldn’t write exclusively about writing, and in a way I see some of these changes as a culmination of that discussion.

For myself, I’ve undergone something of a blogging transformation as well. I remember when I started writing in earnest at the beginning of the year after reading Kristen’s “Freshly Pressed” post about how all writers should have a blog.

When I started I had in mind that this blog would turn into something of a powerful sales platform, that I’d wield my mighty blogging power to move my readers toward buying my books and stories. But it hasn’t worked out that way. I didn’t sell piles of books because of this blog. I sold more than I probably would have without it, but still…no cash cow here.

So you might be wondering: why should I keep blogging? Why put time and effort into something that isn’t going to pay off?

Because over the months since I’ve started doing this, I’ve realized that hoping blogging will “pay off” is the wrong mindset. I’ve written lots of things that didn’t “pay off.” There are stories that simply weren’t good enough to get published, short fiction I’ve posted here for absolutely free, and you know what? I don’t regret one word of it.

Because maybe we’re looking at this whole thing the wrong way. Do you know what pays off in my life? My job.

I go in to work every day, punch the clock, and do what I’m supposed to do. And every two weeks I get a paycheck.

No one ever asks me to love it. No one ever asks me if that’s my life’s calling. They all know it isn’t.

But writing…writing is different. I’d like to paid for what I do some day, just like lots of other authors out there. But I’m fully aware that lots of other authors out there are either unpublished or making far less than they need to support themselves. And I still keep writing.

And you want to know why? Because I can. Because I want to.

Money is great. And every time I see that someone has gone on Amazon or Barnes and Noble’s website and bought one of my stories I do a little happy dance.

Yes that’s right, you too, can have your very own Happy Dance custom designed by me for the low low price of 99 cents! For the Deluxe Happy Dance option, buy What the Dog Saw for $2.99!

I guess what I’m trying to say is that writing, whether it be novels, short stories, or blogging, doesn’t have to have a payoff. Call it lowered expectations if you want. Maybe you’re right.

But no matter what you call it, I’m gonna keep on rolling.


Adendum: A lot of these thought are sorta kinda inspired by Ignore Everybody by Hugh Macleod which I’ve been rereading lately. If you’re a “creative type” and you haven’t read this book, you really really should. That is all.

9 responses to “The Happy Dance Manifesto

  1. I have to roll my eyes whenever I see another stampede because of what some social media guru said. There’s lots of advice out there, and a lot of it is crap and a lot of it is gold, but at the end of the day you have to be you. Unless you want to be a phony.

    The “Ignore Everybody” book looks interesting. I may check it out or I may ignore it. Thanks for the advice. 🙂

  2. “Because I can. Because I want to.”

    Amen, brother.

    Love this post. I would say more, but other posts that are so NOT what you are saying have angered me lately, and to prevent a huge word spill on your blog that amounts to a verbose, “HULK SMASH!”, I will leave it at that. 🙂

  3. I agree with you completely.

    Some people are lucky enough to do what they love and get paid for it.
    Some people are miserable in their jobs and don’t do anything about it.
    Some people go to work, do what they have to do to earn a living, and realize that life happens outside of work as well, and that they can make the time to pursue and work at what they love, even if it doesn’t pay off. I admire these people the most, because what they’re doing is the hardest.

  4. It’s true. I love writing. I’d still do it even if I knew I was never going to get paid. I love blogging because it’s introduced me to so many amazing, supportive, creative peeps. 😀

  5. I’m glad that you are going to “keep on rolling”; it’s always a pleasure to read your posts. I love reading the blogs that are stories of humor, seriousness or the creative combo, but I don’t like reading blogs that tell me how to write or what I should write about… they seem preachy and quickly turn me off.

    So glad that your blog is interesting and entertaining. You keep writing and I’ll keep reading! Now I’d better get back to blogging…. life has pulled me away for a bit, but it’s time to return. ~Carol~

  6. That’s awesome. Glad to hear you’ll be continuing to blog! 🙂

  7. Having jobs make writers less likely get a writer’s block.

  8. Pingback: Times They are A'Changing (Blog News) - Am I the Only One Dancing?

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