How I’m trying to see writing…
I feel like, if you want to succeed, you kind of have to see writing as a combination of a hobby and a business. A business because you’re trying to make money. You want to produce a product that is high quality, something a consumer will want to buy. But I feel like you also have to treat it like a hobby because you need to forget about breaking even. Most authors are never going to break even, let alone make a living at it.
I say this because I frequently find myself torn between wanting to do things right and wanting to do things cheap. With a business, you might cut corners to turn a profit. With a hobby, you’d never do that. The journey and the destination are just too important.
Give you an example. I am also a photographer. I love photography. I also sell photography, but I have yet to make any sort of profit on it. For me, spending $700 on a camera, $900 on lenses (well I don’t remember exactly how much they cost, but it was a lot), $100 on various types of mat board, and on and on, is no big deal. I don’t mind spending it because I enjoy all the steps. I like taking photographs, loved when I got my new telephoto lens a few years back (even if it did cost be about 500 bucks). I like matting prints, making magnets, note cards, and bookmarks. I enjoy hanging with my family at festivals, trying to sell and knowing I won’t, especially not in this economy.
As for writing, I found it freeing when I started trying to treat it more like a hobby than a business. I didn’t see book covers as as much of an expense because I saw it a lot like buying art. I mean, I spent $100 for that big painting on my wall, what’s one or two hundred for cover art? I also didn’t mind spending money on a website when I got exactly what I wanted. I love how my site looks now. It feels cleaner, brighter, and I really like WordPress (even if it fights me at times). It was worth it to me because, in the past, I’ve spent far more on hobbies I spent far less time enjoying.
And, really, writing is a labor of love. You do it because you want to. Most authors have second jobs, can’t make a living at it. And that’s okay. Enjoy what you’re doing. Maybe someday I’ll be able to dump the day job but, until then, I’m going to do what I love and not worry about the expense.