One of my friends is completely and utterly baffled at the fact that I don't want to write for a living.
Now, a lot of my friends don't believe most of the things I say, for their own reasons--usually because they can't wrap their head around what I'm saying. I don't begrudge them that, by the way; I can't fathom some of the things they're talking about either. But why do we have to turn everything we love into a moneymaker?
I don't want to write to get published. I never did. I don't write to inform people, or to persuade them. I don't write to churn out the next Great American Novel, or New York Times bestseller, or international sensation. I don't write to be controversial or edgy, or to make people think deep philosophical things.
If I do those things, that's a great side effect. If you do, good for you. But that's not why I write.
I write to entertain. That's all I've ever done. All I want to do is tell a good story--or even a bad one. If people like it, it doesn't really matter, does it?
Now, I'm just going to come out and say it. I've had a really hard time writing lately. Haven't written a thing in months, in fact. Why? Long story. I'll try to sum it up.
It's incredibly pathetic, but I got broken. In the past, I've forgotten why I write; just every now and then I'd stop and go, "wait, this isn't fun anymore. Why am I doing this, again?" And I'd think, and I'd remember why. And I've been trying to cling to that. Then I made the mistake of taking some people more seriously than I should have, and I convinced myself that their goals were what I should have been after, and made them my goals. Did this negatively affect my writing? You bet your ass it did. For a while there I just threw up my hands and gave up writing altogether, because the stories I wanted to tell just didn't work for the new goals.
I lost my love for writing, and in forgetting why I write I lost a part of my soul. And it hurts. It hurts something terrible, because I haven't gotten that love back yet. I'm remembering my goal and trying to keep it close, but the passion's been broken and it's going to be difficult to get back. It's not something that just magically returns when someone admits "just write the story the way you want to," or when they say "but that story's great, you should finish it!"
This is why I decided, years and years ago, that I didn't want to turn writing into my career. I love it too much to turn it into a career. If I turn that into a money making endeavor, then I'm going to have to be constantly writing, constantly researching, constantly marketing myself and trawling the freelance markets for pittance just to stay afloat so I can finish writing my novels. Writing doesn't pay well unless you hit it big, or constantly whore yourself out, and I knew I wasn't going to strike gold the first time and I didn't want to do the latter.
And what I feared came to pass. I stressed out about my writing and became so obsessed with twisting and warping this story I had loved into something that the mainstream market would accept and pay me for that I stopped loving to write.
Some people can write for a living. If you can, good for you. But I can't.
I just love it too much.