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Monday, March 26, 2012

Love versus Money: Can You Write for Both?

I've said before that I think there are two kinds of writers--writers who write because they love to, and writers who write for money. In my fifteen+ years of full-time freelancing, I've almost always fallen into the latter camp. 

Writing isn't a passion of mine. It's not a hobby. It's how I help pay our mortgage, save for college, and buy Honey Nut Cheerios and Diet Mountain Dew (two staples in our house). I talk about writing for money, and I write articles about writing for money, and I write books about writing for money, and I write a blog about writing for get the idea. 


Here's the thing. I still write because I love to. No, I don't get to do as much of it as I used to, but I started out writing because I loved it. I started out writing because I wanted to. I wrote short stories and poems and had a few failed attempts at a novel before I finished and sold my first one (Did you Get the Vibe?) Then I wrote and sold another one, White Bikini Panties. I managed to keep one foot in the writing-for-love world and one in the writing-for-money. 

Then my son came along. And writing-for-love slipped pretty close to the bottom of my to-do list. I worked on my new novel here and there, but couldn't gain much traction on it. Then my daughter came along and my novel manuscript sat untouched for more than a year. 

But in the last few months, I had a series of epiphanies. First, I realized that I wanted to finish this book, and that I was willing to give something up (usually bad television shows or an extra hour of sleep) to make it happen. Second, this is the "Year of the Change-up" for me. I'll write more about it in a future post, but I'm approaching my career differently in 2012 than I have in past years. One of my priorities this year was to spend more time on what I call "projects of the heart," my phrase for the writing you really want to do. And when Kelly Stone announced her 90-day Writing Challenge, it was the push I needed to finish the book I spent, oh about six years working on. 

The short version is that a mere 8 years (!!!) after my second novel came out, I'm announcing my third, The Honesty Index. Here's a brief overview: When Renee and Colleen were in college, they made a pact. No matter what happened, they would always be honest with each other, even if the truth hurt. But it’s all but impossible to be honest with anyone all of the time—even, or especially, with yourself. In The Honesty Index, these two friends try to navigate the waters of their 30-something lives—and learn that regardless of what kind of life you have, it’s up to you to make yourself happy.
The Honesty Index is available through Kindle and Smashwords and for you Luddites like me who like to hold a physical book, I'll have a print version coming through CreateSpace soon. If you enjoy contemporary women's fiction (I think my 30-something characters are a little old to call this "chick lit"), or know someone who does, I hope you'll check it out! 

So what's my point? I still write for money, and I'm not ashamed to say so. But I've found that making time for the projects I care about...well, that's what truly makes me happiest, writing-wise. So yeah, I write for money. But I write for love, too. So why not do both?  

***To promote The Honesty Index and my new book on freelancing, Writer for Hire: 101 Secrets to Freelance Success, I am planning lots of fun stuff on the blog including giveaways and query critiques. I'll also be posting soon on 18 months of POD sales (including how the print/ebook ratio is continuing to change), why ebooks are so hot (and what not to do when you write one), and how to turn a one-time client into a regular one. As always, if there's a burning question you want answered, let me know and I'll do my best to answer it here. :) 

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