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Maze Runner
07-28-2015, 07:19 PM
If so, for how long? Forever? How 'bout for next to nothing?

Do you love it so much that you think you'll do it no matter what?

I enjoy it, at times I do love it. When it's really working and I read back what I've written and...but let's face it, it's a lot of work. Plus, many of us have to do something else. It's an avocation we'd hope to turn into a job, or as I heard E.L. Doctorow say (posthumously) on Charlie Rose the other night, "It's a calling."

I believe that any art requires that you do have some knack for it. Then it's up to you to develop it--and with that, if you didn't have it at the onset, comes love. Another writer, can't recall his name, but he was a TV writer and producer said (paraphrased)...Everyone's born with a talent. It's your duty to find out what that talent is and to fall in love with it...I believe it was Stephen Cannell.

I think the point is, it takes a lot, a lot of energy, work, time, thought, persistence, ingenuity, etc, not to master ('cause I don't think many if any ever get their arms all the way around an art) but just to reach a viable level of proficiency and "success" whatever that may mean to you. What does success mean to you?

Have many of you achieved moderate success by your definition (readership, sales, reviews, artistic achievement, personal satisfaction) and then had second thoughts? I won't say third thoughts, because then you probably wouldn't be on this board.

Have you gotten to the point of mindless repetition? Meaning you've forgotten why you write? But show up to do it on most days because you sense that it's good for you. I think there is something healthy in it. It's almost like a meditation, ommmm... It occupies a mind that might go somewhere less positive and productive and healthy if it's left to its own device.

Please know that I'm not trying to discourage anyone, and I'm not saying I'm ready to quit (I'm a relative babe in this pursuit) but we're all grownups here. I think it's healthy to know where your bottom is, if only to have something to spring up off of.

Shadow_Ferret
07-28-2015, 07:31 PM
I've been writing for nothing for decades now and I'm tired of it. Time to find a pursuit that I enjoy.

Maze Runner
07-28-2015, 07:32 PM
I've been writing for nothing for decades now and I'm tired of it. Time to find a pursuit that I enjoy.

Has your lack of "success" taken the fun out of it for you?

Sorry, that's probably a stupid question.

Just wanted you to know that I empathize.

lizmonster
07-28-2015, 07:58 PM
For me, it's not so much a calling as mental maintenance. I can't stop. I mean, I have stopped, at times for years; but I always come back to it, whether I'm writing for an audience or not. It seems to be a basic part of how I exist in the world.

I did it for nothing for 45 years. I knew chances were slim when started querying, but writing/not writing wasn't the issue for me.

Shadow_Ferret
07-28-2015, 08:16 PM
Has your lack of "success" taken the fun out of it for you?

Sorry, that's probably a stupid question.

Just wanted you to know that I empathize.

I don't know that it was ever fun. Relaxing at times. Cathartic. And it was enjoyable creating new worlds, but the continued lack of success started to wear away at whatever pleasure I may have once derived from the act of writing. It's made me question why I put myself through it if no one else appreciates my writings.

I'd much rather decompress by picking up my guitar and learning a new song.

Toothpaste
07-28-2015, 08:29 PM
I think I would absolutely keep writing for fun, but I don't think I'd write as much or be as prolific.

Myrealana
07-28-2015, 08:34 PM
I do it for nothing now -- well nothing but dreams, anyway.

Tora Uran
07-28-2015, 08:40 PM
I would still be writing, maybe more fanfic as then I at least can get the satisfaction of having people read my work. But I doubt I could just not write. I have been an avid daydreamer since I can remember and I love creating stories far too much not to do it even if no one reads my work. I just have always had the urge to create and I don't ever seeing it going away.

WriterBN
07-28-2015, 08:44 PM
If so, for how long?

Some days, yes. Most days, no.

I would be immensely gratified if people kept reading my books, but if I wasn't making any money, I doubt that I would continue writing. I have to pay the bills (eventually).

Fruitbat
07-28-2015, 08:55 PM
Yes, I would keep writing if I didn't make any money from it. It seems to me most writers have the same few goals with their writing, as the OP listed, but the order of importance of those goals differs. To me, the intangibles come first- self-expression/personal satisfaction/artistic achievement, then recognition (having people read it), and money is last. Of course I will always accept more money but I don't care much if I don't get paid. Not getting read would be harder but it really wouldn't need to happen because if nothing else, you could self-publish as a freebie and there would be plenty of takers.

chompers
07-28-2015, 09:11 PM
I definitely wouldn't. I've got other things that interest me more (love the talent quote, btw!).

And I'd really love to get my brain back. Haha. I don't like that there's never any peace and quiet in my brain anymore. It's always trying to come up with ideas for my stories. Haha.

anastasiareeves
07-28-2015, 09:30 PM
I write for nothing now and have for years and years. Would I keep writing for free? Yes. Do I hope not to have to? Yes. Of all the things I "am" writer is the one that has never been in question. Whether I make money at it or not, when people ask what I do, I say I am a writer.

heza
07-28-2015, 09:38 PM
I have different goals with different types of writing and in different venues.

Right now, I'm pursuing a career with my writing. That means, for me, money is my first consideration. I can't do this full time if I'm not getting paid and my writing isn't saleable. If that never happens, or at some point, the effort I'm investing into it is greater than any benefit (or hope of benefit) I'm receiving, I'll probably stop writing for trade publication.

I would then pursue self publishing exclusively. If I didn't garner career-making sales there, I would probably stop trying to make money. At that point, I might put my original work on a free site like WattPad. Or I would exclusively write fan fiction. Or I would go back to writing for Role Playing groups, which I previously left to give myself more time to write for my trade publishing goal.

So I wouldn't just keep writing never-read novels for trade publishing if I was pretty sure I'd never get published and, therefore, paid. But I would switch to a different venue and type of writing where I wouldn't get paid and write for free there.

Parametric
07-28-2015, 09:53 PM
I'd be lying if I pretended that my lack of success, after a dozen years and ten novels, doesn't give me a considerable amount of angst and to some extent spoil my enjoyment of writing. It's difficult to write while wondering what's wrong with every sentence.

Not one person has read any of the last three novels I've written, so I guess writing purely for myself must be satisfaction enough.

Viridian
07-28-2015, 10:06 PM
Are we talking about money or success?

I don't care about getting paid. But if no one read my stories, I'd quit.

KateSmash
07-28-2015, 10:46 PM
Or I would go back to writing for Role Playing groups, which I previously left to give myself more time to write for my trade publishing goal.

I did the same thing - though being the game creator/runner, I also left because I got tired of doing all the background work and getting none of the credit. :tongue Might have just been the players I had around me, though. If I ever go back to another NRPG, it's going to have to be someone else's sandbox.

Although, I don't mind not getting paid for solo writing. I probably wouldn't give it up entirely should career things never work out - but I would give serious consideration to returning to more casual and social things like fanfic and rpg forums.

Jamesaritchie
07-28-2015, 10:47 PM
Of course I wouldn't write for nothing. It may be necessary to do so for a while. There's a learning curve to pretty much everything, and darned few college students get paid for whatever they're majoring in until after that learn how to do it well, and graduate.

I started getting paid with my first short story, but this is not the norm by any stretch. But going on for years and years, a decade or more, without getting paid? No chance in hell. I enjoy the writing process greatly, but not so much that I'd let it get in the way of finding something else that I could do at a professional level.

I believe most people are very, very good at something, and if they really are good at it, if they really can do it at a professional level, they'll also enjoy doing it. So why spend your life doing something you aren't very good at? It makes no sense to me. Life is full of possibilities, but the multitude of possibilities gets smaller and smaller and smaller as we age. It's always best to find whatever it is you're really good at while you're still young enough to get over the learning curve, or still have the health to do it at all.

Not every writer falls under this umbrella, but too many decide to write because they see it as the easy alternative, or even the only alternative, to do something that might make them a lot of money. They already have a computer, the internet, and a word processor. What else does a writer really need? Writing is the chance to earn money, maybe a lot of it, without getting out of the house, without finding a way to pay for a good college education, or good technical training. It's a heck of a lot cheaper than these things, chapter that starting a new business, which you don't know anything about, anyway. It's even cheaper than most of the other arts where you might have to by paint, and brushes, and canvases, or all that's needed for sculpture, or a new, quality piano, and probably have to go to school for these things, as well. And you hated school.

That's fine. Nothing at all wrong with giving writing a try. But working at it for free should have a limit, unless you want to stay poor all your life.

There are things I like enough to do for free, but only if whatever else I'm doing gives me a comfortable living. I'm damned if I'll be poor, and still work for nothing at anything, even if it's just a hobby.

ironmikezero
07-28-2015, 11:08 PM
There's an old adage regarding careers to the effect do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life . . .

I found it to be true; I had a career I loved (and excelled at) that set me up with an excellent life-long pension - in truth, I relished the inherent challenges and would have done it for free. Now I write because I find it fun - the money is pretty much irrelevant - so, yes I'd do it for free.

Ton Lew Lepsnaci
07-28-2015, 11:28 PM
Why would you consider it as working/doing it for nothing? Apprenticeships pay little in general. This one pays nothing. Then again, you're not working for a master and "cleaning out the stables" while you're at it to ensure you get tuition/training. It's a matter of working to improve, like practicing guitar. Do you expect to get paid for practicing the instrument? It may easily take a decade or more to get truly good at something. As with everything, you need to practice till your fingers bleed and then some. :)

brainstorm77
07-28-2015, 11:59 PM
No. I look at writing as a second job which supplements my income from my full-time job.

heza
07-29-2015, 12:07 AM
...It's a matter of working to improve, like practicing guitar. Do you expect to get paid for practicing the instrument? It may easily take a decade or more to get truly good at something. As with everything, you need to practice till your fingers bleed and then some. :)

The way I look at it is that it's basically a gamble in some ways.

You go to the casino with $500. You tell yourself that's how much you're going to spend and not a penny more. You could win a thousand dollars... you might go bust. If you do, are you going to dig into your savings account to play again? How confident are you in your ability to play the game, how much do you believe in your luck, how important is winning to you? Important enough to risk another $500?

I believe there are people who have a natural talent for writing fiction. I think these people do need to develop that talent but that it will take them less time to get to a proficient, publishable level than it would take someone with less talent. Someone with little talent but a very strong drive could work for decades, if they want to be published badly enough, and practice themselves into a publishable state.

In this context, time is money.

I'd rather be that first, naturally talented writer. I know writing requires discipline and honing, but I'm not prepared to toil away at it for 20 years, say, before seeing any return on my investment, if that makes sense. If I'm still not going anywhere after a good go at it, then I'm going to acknowledge that I'm not one of those really naturally talented writers and I'm going to go figure out what it is I am naturally talented at.

Latina Bunny
07-29-2015, 01:09 AM
I'm still writing and drawing/sketching/doodling for nothing--and have been doing so for years. At least I can finish drawings, though. Writing takes too long for me, even though I enjoy it. Especially since I got a short attention span and a perfectionist, so I end up not finishing any stories. I also can't tell if my writing's going to get any good because of that.

But, after several years, I now treat it just as a hobby and more of a relaxation thing. (I'm naturally anxious.) Just something to spit out bits I like and amuse myself. I'm trying to finish a story in between life stuff. Will I finish? Don't know, but it keeps my mind busy, and it's more fun than passively watching tv all of the time.

I'm also more visual, so I also enjoy doodling/drawing/sketching/painting.

With visual stuff at least, like drawing or game creation, arts and crafts, sewing, etc, it's easier to visually see how I'm progressing. It's faster in terms of time to create a finished product Cooking is also easy to see if something's good or not, and it won't take years to do one thing like writing. (But I'm definitely a terrible cook and a very, very, very picky eater, lol. I want to learn how to bake cakes as well as how to decorate cakes in the future. Besides, I would need to learn to cook any food in order to survive, lol.)

For writing, it's more to keep my mind busy, and I have stories in my head I want to spit out in some way. It's more to entertain myself, and it can also inspire me in other hobbies, like drawing and painting, sewing, cooking, arts and crafts, etc. It also gives me an excuse to read nonfiction stuff, which is also fun. (I always love learning! :) )

However, if I don't finish the novel in the next year or two, then I will have to accept I can't write novels. I would probably move onto trying to write as inspiration for my artwork or maybe a manga/comic. :) Or inspiration for storyboarding for an animation project. Or maybe write to create a point-and-click adventure game or platform game.

I like to keep my mind busy with creative stuff, and some form of writing can help with that. :)

WeaselFire
07-29-2015, 02:00 AM
There are plenty of times I start to think I'm doing it for nothing. :)

Jeff

Tazlima
07-29-2015, 02:18 AM
It's an interesting question. Although I am currently doing it for nothing and don't have high expectations of success, some little part of me hopes to someday gain an agent/publisher/audience. I like the idea of people enjoying my work, whether for light-hearted enjoyment or more serious ponderings. If that hope completely vanished, I might well seek out some other way to spend my time (overtone singing is an interesting challenge).

What if it were posed as a hypothetical question? I.e. you're the last person on earth, so you KNOW nobody will ever read your work.

...of course, if I were the last person on earth, I'd probably feel somewhat obligated to chronicle my experience in case aliens ever discovered my remains and wondered what happened to all the humans, so even then I'd be writing for a potential (albeit unlikely) future audience.

Money would be nice too, of course, but money is much easier to come by than readers. Any old job can bring in money.

Anna_Hedley
07-29-2015, 02:24 AM
I feel that I'm more mercenary than a lot of writers, in that I absolutely wouldn't write if I couldn't then sell what I'd written. I don't view my writing as art, more as a set of skills that I have. Not that I think my writing is bad. I wouldn't even attempt to sell anything I thought was poor quality. I just don't have a huge emotional investment in it.

Maze Runner
07-29-2015, 02:38 AM
Yeah, I sure as hell don't expect to get anything close to rich off it, but if I have the feeling for too long that I'm writing for no one, I think I'd put it down.

Ken
07-29-2015, 03:03 AM
Emily Dickenson made diddly-squat from her poetry. She had one volume published and it had a limited print, I believe. And yet she gave us some very great poems! So she's and example of someone who essentially wrote for nothing. Did that work for her? Maybe; maybe not. But it sure did for us readers ! So don't be down if your not making loot. You are in good company !

Maze Runner
07-29-2015, 03:30 AM
Emily Dickenson made diddly-squat from her poetry. She had one volume published and it had a limited print, I believe. And yet she gave us some very great poems! So she's and example of someone who essentially wrote for nothing. Did that work for her? Maybe; maybe not. But it sure did for us readers ! So don't be down if your not making loot. You are in good company !

Thanks, Ken. Yeah, I'm not really down, buddy. But thank you. I think for a lot of us who have to hold down a job it comes down to time and energy. Also, I am definitely not in this for the money, but you just want to be read, I think.

Beachgirl
07-29-2015, 03:52 AM
No.

Wait, did I answer that too quickly? Okay, let me think about it for a moment.

Still no.

While I don't need the income from my writing, there is too much work involved to not get compensated for it. I enjoy writing, there are therapeutic qualities to it, and even after nine books the thrill of being published hasn't worn off. But I don't like editing, writing synopses, or keeping up with social media promotion. I could easily find other outlets that would fulfill my creative needs, but don't involve the things I don't enjoy. Getting that royalty statement every three months gives me the extra motivation that keeps me from ditching the writing gig and taking up needlepoint.

CheesecakeMe
07-29-2015, 04:14 AM
For as long as I can remember I've loved daydreaming and making up stories in my head. It's like my favourite pastime, staring at nothing and daydreaming. I write because I want to see if anyone else would be interested in my stories and if I could make money off of something I spend 90% of my time thinking about.
If it turns out no one cares for them I'll just leave them in my head and focus on something else.

blacbird
07-29-2015, 06:14 AM
I do do it for nothing. Have done so for a very long time. Just ask my readers.

. . . ohhhhh . . . . . wait . . . . . . . . . there's a problem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

caw

William Haskins
07-29-2015, 06:18 AM
yeah, i would. money's nice, but it's not worth shutting down creatively over it.

C.bronco
07-29-2015, 06:21 AM
Me too. I write because it is what I love to do. I shall create, if not a note a hole (poetry reference). We do what we are (literary reference).

Cathy C
07-29-2015, 06:52 AM
Tough call. I write for money. But I've also written stories because they called out to be written. Still, if there was no hope of money at all? Probably not. Maybe some fan fic or a short story here or there. But not 100K novels. Nope.

RedWombat
07-29-2015, 10:35 AM
Mm. Probably, some, but much more slowly and a lot more fan fic.

Unless we're talking win-the-lottery scenario, in which case I would just start writing stuff for fun and the deadlines could go hang. In which case my productivity might even go up a notch, assuming I wasn't spending my time trying to run a foundation for orphaned wombats or something.

Polenth
07-29-2015, 10:35 AM
I'd write a lot less if there was no potential for making money, because I'd have to work on whatever did make money. I'd write less if I was rich, as I could do whatever I wanted (and there are lots of things I want to do). Writing is fun in general, but not really on days when I have to force myself to write, because I need to get something finished in the hopes it might sell. It'd be nice if money wasn't a worry.

griffins
07-29-2015, 11:25 AM
For the amount of grief the writing process can give a person, I don't see how anyone would be willing to go through it for free.
Dabbling when the odd inspiration hits you, well sure, I'd do that for free. But there is a huge difference between dabbling and tossing your whole person into something when the craft demands.

Guerrien
07-29-2015, 04:28 PM
I guess I am doing it for nothing right now, unless you count hopes and dreams, wishes and fishes. But I do have a goal in mind--to get an agent and at least see--and I've only been writing novel-sized things for four years or so, in and amongst grad school and travelling. So I'm at this strange, nebulous point of it where I think I might've finally gotten the hang of writing a novel-sized plot, but then, I thought that last time, too; I can see myself improving, and so the hope remains alive that 'this time, maybe'. I think that might fade eventually. I can see myself getting tired and worn down if I never get any closer to goal.

I've said that to friends who are in the same position--when I've been querying or waiting to hear back from fulls, have tons of coursework deadlines due, and was on a close-shift at work the previous night--that I could see my motivation for it all not lasting indefinitely if this was all it ever turned out to be. I still could. Said friend usually replies that she could never give up writing, that it's in her bones and under her skin, and I understand that. I've been telling stories for as long as I can remember. I used to dictate them to family members before I could write myself. My brain will work over plot points on its own, offer up random suggestions in the middle of the night. But I also know that I can switch that off. Whenever the other stuff gets really busy--school deadlines, a rush shift at work--my brain will switch off 'writing mode', and there will be bizarre, blissful quiet where the insistence of ideas used to be. It must be what it's like to be in the head of non-writers. I don't particularly like it, but if it went on forever, one day I'd forget that it had ever been anything more.

So...yeah, I could see myself stopping if I never reached any of my writing goals (or didn't reach them within five years, ten years, twenty years, however long my determination lasted), and I could make it so I didn't miss it, if I focused on something else. I'd just probably end up creating Skynet in my spare time instead.

A.P.M.
07-29-2015, 04:59 PM
If I ever decide that my chances of getting my YA/MG writing published with agents are 0%, then I would self-publish. A no from the publishing industry is no longer a no from readers. Maybe I'm over-confident, but I know my writing is good enough that some people will enjoy it, or at least it will be after some more work and a beta-read or two. If I have to take a break from writing and work on learning how to market, I'll do that. It's a useful skill that benefits the time I put into learning how to write.

LJD
07-29-2015, 05:13 PM
If I knew I would never have more success in writing than I've already had, I wouldn't do it. As it is, I feel like writing is masochistic and possibly bad for my mental health.

Shadow_Ferret
07-29-2015, 05:25 PM
yeah, i would. money's nice, but it's not worth shutting down creatively over it.

Except I'm not shutting anything down, I'm just rechanneling it to a hobby that gives me more pleasure without the stress. Besides, daydreaming will continue, stories will still wander through my mind, I'm just no longer putting words to paper and I've eliminated the heartbreak of rejection.

kuwisdelu
07-29-2015, 06:22 PM
I do do it for nothing. Have done so for a very long time. Just ask my readers.

. . . ohhhhh . . . . . wait . . . . . . . . . there's a problem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

We're birds of a feather.

caw

nighttimer
07-29-2015, 06:50 PM
If so, for how long? Forever? How 'bout for next to nothing?

Do you love it so much that you think you'll do it no matter what?

I enjoy it, at times I do love it. When it's really working and I read back what I've written and...but let's face it, it's a lot of work. Plus, many of us have to do something else. It's an avocation we'd hope to turn into a job, or as I heard E.L. Doctorow say (posthumously) on Charlie Rose the other night, "It's a calling."

As a reporter, columnist and editor I've worked where writing was my job and I put in the time at 3:00 am trying to lay out a newspaper to prove it. A job I liked more than disliked and I quit a better paying job for it, but any idea I was pursing my heart's desire is something I swiftly got over.

I enjoy journalism and I'm good at it, but there's no money in it so you'd better do because you really, really like it. It's not a calling. That is romanticizing it. It's a job.

I will write until I can't. I only do journalism when I'm (a) being paid or (b) really want to tell a story so much I'll do it for chump change or nothing at all. I blog more and freelance less because I'm tired of the hassle.

I'll do journalism for free, but I won't do it for nothing. I love being a journalist, but I prefer to be a paid one.


Please know that I'm not trying to discourage anyone, and I'm not saying I'm ready to quit (I'm a relative babe in this pursuit) but we're all grownups here. I think it's healthy to know where your bottom is, if only to have something to spring up off of.

Where my bottom is? Pretty sure I'm sitting on it...:e2moon:

Currently, my basement floor is a mess of old newspapers, magazines and printed pages of 23 years worth of articles, reviews, columns, and other babblings I've written. I'm going to grab some large trash bags and start thinning the herd. I'm sentimental, but only to an extent. Reading over something I wrote in 1999 is a cringe-worthy experience and nobody is going to want to take a trip through my back pages.

Into the recycle bin they go. As if there's much to recycle from decades-old writings. :e2shrug:

Namatu
07-29-2015, 06:57 PM
I currently write for free - and for me. I stopped writing for many years but returned to it because I wanted to tell a particular story. I'm doing that now. Very few people have read my books, and I don't have high expectations for enlarging that audience. I polish and query and recognize as I do so that what I'm writing is in-between. Self-publishing is not an option I'm considering right now.

I want to get this story out, regardless of whether I get paid for it. Beyond that, I can see myself continuing to write for nothing, but not nearly so consistently. There are other things I'd like to pursue, and the time to do that has to come from somewhere.

Lissibith
07-29-2015, 08:23 PM
I currently do it for nothing, and I'm fine with that.

I mean, I got paid for writing short stories as far back as high school, but at some point I realized that while apparently the publishers thought what I was writing was okay, I didn't like it so much. So I stopped writing short stories. Eventually lost the knack, unless it's fanfic. Focused on novels, and haven't really done much public since. Send a query for a novel to one publisher, once, on a whim. Sent one short story to one market because the prompt they supplied sparked the story in the first place. When neither wanted my stuff,I jsut let it lie.

Some of it's that I'm still pretty sure everything I write, including those published pieces, is always crap. But mostly, it's just that subbing never felt like a part of my writing process. If a potential market conveniently presented itself I'd take the opportunity but I didn't go searching for places to sub. Maybe someday I will, and then the lack of success and whatnot will grate on me. Only the future knows :)

Filigree
07-29-2015, 09:11 PM
I write fanfic for free, but for several calculated intangible benefits I won't bother to elaborate here. I did 30+ years of fantasy and space opera world-building for free, as a hobby with the eventual goal of publishing. I write blog posts for free.

All those are both enjoyable activities and stepping stones. If they lead somewhere lucrative, fine. I have several manuscripts, a capable agent, and the looming adventure of going on sub to the Big Five. Sure, I'd love to have more money - I'd do a lot more writing and art.

sgcassidy
07-29-2015, 09:32 PM
Are you writing a series? I'm new here and to all of this, will you post one of your query letters for a frame of reference to your writing?

Filigree
07-29-2015, 09:41 PM
Me? Series, yes. Query letter, no. When I need to run something by the ever-alert, razor-toothed filter that is Absolute Write, I toss things up at the Share Your Work section of AW. Mostly, I work with even sharper and pickier beta readers.

Welcome to AW. It's a big but worthwhile place.

Maze Runner
07-29-2015, 10:02 PM
Welcome to AW. It's a big but worthwhile place.

Agreed. The generosity of this place still astounds me. Welcome, sgcassidy!

KTC
07-29-2015, 10:23 PM
I quite often write for nothing.

Let me back that statement up.

I'm also someone who gets paid for writing, so I have that fulfillment of having earned something for the thing I love to do. I don't require that, but it is nice to feel the value of this crazy blissful thing I do. It's validation.

Every year I write a play for a local theatre company for free. Driftwood Theatre in Toronto. They spend the summer gallivanting around in the Bard's Bus, performing Shakespeare in the Park across Ontario. In order to do this, they have a fundraiser called TRAFALGAR 24 PLAY CREATION FESTIVAL. Six playwrights get locked into an 18th Century castle overnight (from 10pm-6am). We each write a 10-minute play. When we go home at 6am, a group of directors and actors converge on the castle. They rehearse for 8 hours and then that night they perform the 6 plays throughout the castle (6 performances per play) to a rotating audience of about 300. The audience all pays a nice chunk to see the 6 plays, to take in the ambiance of the castle, and to eat dessert until they puke.

THAT is ONE example of the many times throughout the year that I write for nothing.

But, seriously, if you can see the nothing in that...you have better eyes than I have.

I believe that you should always write for something. YES...writing for money is filled with awesome. I do it, so I understand that. My novels bring me money. My articles bring me money. My poems bring me money. My memoir brings me money.

BUT write for something. If it's not money, especially at first, it's recognition. Brand building. CHARITY...I write for charity often and enjoy doing so. Just write to write...The feeling it gives you when you actually write it...or the feeling it gives you when you have it published in a non-paying market. There has to be something. NOTHING...that's a word that minimizes to, well, to nothing.

If you can't think of anything to write for, then write for the Fat Lady. "I'll tell you a terrible secret Are you listening to me? There isn't anyone out there who isn't Seymour's Fat Lady."

Don't stop writing if you can't find somebody to pay you for doing it. Once you do that, I think you lose touch with the reason you started writing in the first place. I didn't get into writing for the money. That I'm making some is just a bonus...I'm doing this thing that I love to do. That's not for nothing.

Shunter
07-30-2015, 07:22 AM
Would I write? Yes.

Edit, on the other hand? No way.

For me, writing is the fun part. Writing is enjoyable, I love doing it, it makes me feel clever, whatever. I wrote fanfiction for ages and heaven knows that doesn't pay. However, there was a certain point where I decided that I was going to write with the goal of earning money, and so quit the fics and started doing my own thing. And it was fun, good fun. But the trouble was, I didn't have readers, so while I enjoyed myself, it seemed a bit pointless.

Then I found my tiny little fanbase (hello two beta readers!) and voila, I was set. If those two will read it, I will write, unpaid, quite happily.

But edit? No. Editing is a slog. It's important, and I see great value in it, but frankly if I wasn't looking to get paid I'd let my darlings live on forever. I'd buy them cottages in the woods and create festivals in their names. My darlings would go on to have their own darlings, and my words would live on in happy little towns of useless chatter, because, well, I like them. If I'm not getting paid and not trying to and my little fandom loves them, why edit? That's the part that requires incentive to do.

But I'd write no matter what, I enjoy it too much not to. I wouldn't be doing this if I didn't.

gettingby
07-30-2015, 09:04 AM
I used to be a journalist, writing for money full time. After leaving journalism, I switched over to writing literary fiction. No one is paying me to write fiction, but I write a lot of it with the hopes that things might change as I get better. Every time I write now it's practice. And I believe in practicing a lot. More than I want the money, I want to be good. I enjoy writing fiction and the company of other writers. I wouldn't mind not getting paid for a short fiction as long as the publication is good. Writing as a journalist I was used to getting paid and expected to get paid. Writing fiction I feel much differently about. Sure, I would like to get paid, but where I publish feels more important than how much they pay. But above all, I know I need to continue to work on my fiction and continue to improve. I guess that means I don't really have a problem doing it for nothing.

andiwrite
07-30-2015, 10:23 AM
If you mean doing it without getting tons of money back, yes I would. But I wouldn't do it "for nothing" in the sense of writing only for me and never showing it to anyone. If nothing else, I would always at least self-publish ebooks. Even if I had only one fan out there, that would be "something."

LOTLOF
08-02-2015, 02:47 AM
I have written over two million words of fanfiction. So, yes, I would do it for nothing. I am writing novels in the hopes of making a living at this. However, I still post fanfiction when an interesting idea hits me. It's my hobby, and what I enjoy. So long as I do I will continue to write for free.

Kayley
08-03-2015, 10:49 PM
I would probably keep writing, mostly because I don't think I could ever stop.

TessB
08-04-2015, 12:17 AM
I started my current writing habit with fanfic, love it there. Writing is social currency in fandom, mind you, so it's not for financial benefit, but I am certainly not doing it 'for nothing.' I write because I have a core group of readers who take pleasure in reading it, and because I have friends who will write me smut for birthday presents. <3

Writing original fic was partially out of spite (I can SO write original things), partially as an experiment, and it's doing pretty well for me so far. If I ever run out of stories for pro novels, I'll still have fic.

_Sian_
08-04-2015, 12:31 AM
I have a job already. I think writing for profit is... well, it's a way of measuring progress. When I get accepted by a pro magazine, I'll know I'm off a certain standard. When I'm consistently publishing at that level, it will indicate to others that I'm at a certain standard.

I think, re fanfic, that you get the same thing through the number of Kudos ect. I won't read anything with under 1000 views unless it sounds really like it's my thing, or it's been recommended to me. I use it's popularity as a barometer, in the same way I used the cost of things as a barometer.

TessB
08-04-2015, 12:42 AM
The number of hits and kudos can vary so wildly based on fandom, though. The crappiest, most wildly OOC fic for Teen Wolf will automatically have more hits than anything for, say, MacDonald Hall, because many, many more people know the show than the book series, and the fandom is a current one. I generally sort by kudos and go for the first two or three pages / top ten percent of fic on the list / until I get sick of the tropes.

_Sian_
08-04-2015, 02:48 AM
I'm probably not phrasing myself the best way - I tend to seek stuff out by fandom, not in a catch-all net. So the "going by hits" thing also depends on what I want to read. Also, it doesn't stop me from clicking away the moment I read a crappy first sentence.

LJD
08-04-2015, 02:57 AM
The number of hits and kudos can vary so wildly based on fandom, though. The crappiest, most wildly OOC fic for Teen Wolf will automatically have more hits than anything for, say, MacDonald Hall, because many, many more people know the show than the book series, and the fandom is a current one. I generally sort by kudos and go for the first two or three pages / top ten percent of fic on the list / until I get sick of the tropes.

IS there MacDonald Hall fanfic? OMG, I loved that series.

Captcha
08-04-2015, 03:40 AM
Does the MacDonald Hall fanfic slash Bruno and Boots? Because it certainly SHOULD!

I'd probably write if I wasn't making money at it, but I'd write different stuff, I think. And probably not as much.

And I wouldn't write if I didn't have some sort of an audience. Fanfic would be fine, but SOMEBODY has to be reading my words in order to make the trouble worthwhile.

TessB
08-04-2015, 03:45 AM
IS there MacDonald Hall fanfic? OMG, I loved that series.

There totally is, and not nearly enough. *cough* one of them was written as a gift for me after I sent a friend my old copies of my books. (because I bought the box set, not because I stopped loving them!) I wish there was more Cathy/Diane, to be honest, but given the tendency of fanfic writers to go for the M/M, I'm not at all surprised.

I. I just searched AO3 to get the link, and I'm killing myself laughing. There's a Mac Hall / Teen Wolf crossover. I swear I had NO IDEA when I randomly chose my examples. :roll:

Mac Hall fic on AO3 (http://archiveofourown.org/tags/Macdonald%20Hall%20-%20Gordon%20Korman/works)

harmonyisarine
08-04-2015, 05:56 AM
Of course I'd do it for nothing, so far that's all I've got! :tongue It's only recently that I've started to think about publishing, but I do write primarily for myself. If I write, I'm happy, no matter what happens with that story. So I guess it's not nothing, but it's not really anything most of society would care or measure.

DancingMaenid
08-04-2015, 06:20 AM
I don't write for money. I never have and seriously doubt that I'll ever make a major profit from my writing. Though I'm not opposed to making some extra money, I prefer to keep writing as a hobby, not a job.

AnthonyDavid11
07-16-2017, 09:21 AM
If so, for how long? Forever? How 'bout for next to nothing?

Do you love it so much that you think you'll do it no matter what?

I enjoy it, at times I do love it. When it's really working and I read back what I've written and...but let's face it, it's a lot of work. Plus, many of us have to do something else. It's an avocation we'd hope to turn into a job, or as I heard E.L. Doctorow say (posthumously) on Charlie Rose the other night, "It's a calling."

I believe that any art requires that you do have some knack for it. Then it's up to you to develop it--and with that, if you didn't have it at the onset, comes love. Another writer, can't recall his name, but he was a TV writer and producer said (paraphrased)...Everyone's born with a talent. It's your duty to find out what that talent is and to fall in love with it...I believe it was Stephen Cannell.

I think the point is, it takes a lot, a lot of energy, work, time, thought, persistence, ingenuity, etc, not to master ('cause I don't think many if any ever get their arms all the way around an art) but just to reach a viable level of proficiency and "success" whatever that may mean to you. What does success mean to you?

Have many of you achieved moderate success by your definition (readership, sales, reviews, artistic achievement, personal satisfaction) and then had second thoughts? I won't say third thoughts, because then you probably wouldn't be on this board.

Have you gotten to the point of mindless repetition? Meaning you've forgotten why you write? But show up to do it on most days because you sense that it's good for you. I think there is something healthy in it. It's almost like a meditation, ommmm... It occupies a mind that might go somewhere less positive and productive and healthy if it's left to its own device.

Please know that I'm not trying to discourage anyone, and I'm not saying I'm ready to quit (I'm a relative babe in this pursuit) but we're all grownups here. I think it's healthy to know where your bottom is, if only to have something to spring up off of.

I would do it regardless, but let's be realistic. If I'm getting paid for it, I can devote a lot more time to it and turn out a lot better work. I have learned to keep the TV turned off. It's a true bane to a writer. For me, it takes plenty of time, thought, speculation and letting the mental stew in my brain simmer. Yes, I could churn out a story a week and book a month, but they wouldn't be very good. The best work, in my opinion, is work that has been slowly simmering for a long while. The writer knows his characters and all the motivations and has broken down every scene and done everything he can to get the effect he wants from the reader. Would I do it if I never sold anything? Yes. It's a form of expression and my personally favorite form.

As far as success, if I get to the point that writing pays my bills, I consider that successful. However, at that point, the definition changes. Then it needs to pay the bills and make room for savings. Then it needs to pay off my mortgage and a new car. Beyond that, let it pile up and write to my heart's content for sure, but one step at a time.

Great post and questions!

storiesweaver
07-16-2017, 11:27 AM
I am certainly hoping to earn money from my writing. If I prove to be unable to sell a book then I'll write fanfiction. Or read, probably read.