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 But I’m fully aware that lots of other authors out there are either unpublished or making far less than they need to support themselves.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.