Recently, I was reading a post from an online trainer who coaches authors and other professionals. This trainer discusses the contrast between writing for money and writing for passion. In other words, the age-old conundrum: if you do what you love, will the money follow?
Now, I’ll be honest here – I have recently adopted a real aversion to the use of the word “passion” to describe what motivates one in business. Merriam Webster offers several definitions of passion, including the emotions as distinguished from reason and intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction. In other words, not a whole lotta business sense involved there.
Writing is a business, and it has to be approached as such. Yes, it’s important to care about what you’re doing, and if you’re just chasing money, you probably won’t be happy. The world is filled with sad, lost souls whose main goal in life is the satisfaction of material desires. Writers don’t have to be among them.
But…You Need Some Money, Right?
Well, of course. And here’s where the passion issue really comes into play. If your passion – let’s use a different expression, and just call it what you care about in your work – is literary fiction, you’re probably not going to have that as your primary source of income.
I know this from my own experience, and I had enough business sense to expect it. Even though I invested heavily in quality cover design and experienced editing, I never expected to make millions from my books.
So…I did what I love, and the money followed, right? Sure, I got a little money from book royalties. I still do. But that was never going to be my sole source of income as President & CEO of Sahno Publishing.
Because my business model is that of author, speaker and publisher, I have to be open to other forms of income for the company. And that includes ghostwriting books for entrepreneurs, as well as writing and/or editing articles for a variety of businesses. Lately, it’s also included web copy, and booking speaking engagements.
At best, my “doing what I love” has brought in a small percentage of my income…at worst, I’ve had some bad months. But when I come to the end of my days, I’ll know I did my best to spend at least some of my business life pursuing what I care about the most. And after all, isn’t that what’s really important?