Sunday, May 25, 2014

A Question or Two

Have you ever stopped writing because you've become disillusioned with the publishing side of the business?  I love writing but when it comes to making a bit of cash it becomes an uphill battle to make myself sit down in the chair and actually write.

Why?  Well, let's just say that the cash doesn't always show up in the mail box.  People promise to pay for your work then rather politely stick it up your ass when you question when that money might possibly show up.  We're not talking large amounts here but ten dollars here and twenty there can add up.  And let's be honest, you can't dun people for such small amounts, it's not worth the aggravation.

I've found that every time I think about writing for a living I get stomach cramps and brain freezes.  I don't like causing trouble or getting in virtual brawls with people I like.  I actually feel guilty when I even think about asking these people to pay what's owed.  I even give them excuses, like maybe they don't have the money right now, or they're too busy to go to the post office, or maybe they're sick, or maybe...

So, what I'm asking is how do you folks deal with this?  I'd like to make at least a part time income with my writing but I can't get past trying to deal with the money issues.  I have dozens of projects sitting in writing limbo because I just don't feel the urge to finish.  Worrying about making money seems to take the joy out of writing for me.  How do you get past that and learn to treat writing as a business?


9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't write for money because then it will feel like a job to me. I consider it a passion and I write because it's something that makes my life richer, albeit not in a financial way. I haven't gotten paid much for writing but when I do, I just consider it icing on the cake.

I would be upset too, if someone promised me payment and didn't keep their word. I would not submit to those markets again. But then, I don't submit a lot.

good luck! don't let these bad experiences rob you of the joy that writing brings

Michael Bracken said...

1. Aim higher.

Though not an absolutism, the more money a publication pays for writing the more likely you are to receive the money. Why? Chances are they're a real business with a real business plan and real business income to cover real business expenses, not a hobby somebody is trying to pay for out of their discretionary income.

2. Widen your range.

If your goal is to earn some portion of your living from writing, you may need to widen your range. Write non-fiction or write in other genres. You may find more financial success outside of your favored genre.

sandra seamans said...

I've written for free for a long time now, Anonymous, and feel that I need to stretch beyond those markets. I still submit to them, but I'm trying to go beyond the boundaries that I'm familiar with.

I was trying to work my way up the ladder, Michael, even though the advice is to start at the top and work down when submitting. I used to write non-fiction for the local papers, but that doesn't pay much better in our area. Mostly I'm looking to make just a few extra dollars to go along with my Social Security.

Charles Gramlich said...

I tend not to worry a lot about when I'm gonna get paid for something. I'd say 85% of the time I do get paid. Sometimes eventually. I've certainly had plenty of markets who promised to pay me not come through. It's disappointing but, like you, I don't see there's much I can do about it. These days, I try to work mostly with those I know and like. And if I write something and don't get paid for it I tend to self publish it in hopes of making a few pennies.

sandra seamans said...

That makes sense, Charles. With short stories you always have the option of collecting them together and publishing your own collection.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Long ago, I gave up thinking I would earn any money from writing. So I am just grateful when some small check appears and unsurprised when it doesn't. This may devalue my work but I guess I've moved beyond thinking of it as a past time.

sandra seamans said...

I guess that's what makes the difference, Patti, whether you consider writing a past-time/hobby or choose to make a living from that "hobby". I find myself in between the two.

Elaine Ash said...

Thanks for posing the question Sandra. I guess everybody starts writing for free, at least that's how I got pulishing credits, award nominations, and made a name. But at some point I always knew my writing needed to take care of me, "give back" and eventually pay a mortgage as well as indulgences (not that I'm there yet). There are self-help books to deal with one's relationship to money and how to develop a "deserving" attitude. The best words ever said to me by a million-selling author were: If you don't ask, you don't get. It made an impression.
Elaine Ash/Anonymous-9

sandra seamans said...

But asking and getting are two different things, Elaine. I think many writers, especially women, don't believe they are good enough to ask for payment. But that could just be me and my generation.