Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Can Business Be Pleasure?

Business Vs Pleasure. This is an argument I often have with myself. Writing for me has always been about pleasure. I create stories that I love (most of the time) and I do so because I enjoy the writing process. It's creative, it's therapeutic, it has absolutely nothing to do with the mundanities of real life. It's an escape for me, it's my place.

But recently an author friend of mine decided to quit the day job and focus on her writing as a full-time career. A big step, a huge change and a major risk in terms of financial stability. She told me she felt it was time to start treating writing as a business. She wants her passion to become her career and she believes that if she works hard, she'll get there.

This got me thinking about my own life and the way I treat my craft. My attitude towards writing has always been pretty relaxed. Sure, I meet my deadlines, I send my contracts in on times, I'm professional, but I don't worry about writing and I don't depend on it for my income. But what if I changed my attitude? What if I made some rules for myself, schedules that have to be followed? What if I went business-mode on my writing career? I'd be much more productive and I'd probably earn a decent amount of money. But would I lose the heart of my writing? Would it become the stress of my life?

For any writers out there, how do you manage your writing? Is it a hobby or is it your bread and butter? Or have you found a happy balance between the two?

Please share, I'd love to get another perspective on this :)


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Cindy Spencer Pape said...

It's a tough road. Not being able to predict what next year's income will be is rough, but it IS wonderful to be able to write full time.

Amber Skyze said...

I started out writing for pleasure. The last six months I've decided to start treating it as a part time business. I'd like to eventually work it up to a full time job. We'll see how the next six months go! Unless I get fired, I'm keeping my day job for now.

Anny Cook said...

I also write full time. There are times when "writing" is not happening, but when those times happen, there are many other facets of the job to fill in that time... promo, planning, etc.

Ava said...

Cindy - Thanks for your comment and it's great to know there are people out there who can write full-time and live on the income it generates.

Amber - You sound a little like me. I'd like to work it up too, hopefully in the not so distant future :)

Anny - Great point about using the 'writers block' time for promo, etc. Thanks for your comment!

Fran Lee Romance said...

When writing becomes a "job" an author can begin to lose sight of the enjoyment and pleasure they one got out of writing. If that happens, the spontaneity and joy leave the story, and that is a true loss. I think we need to think of writing as a 'job' we love. But we must keep it a labor of love or it could deteriorate into a "have-to" thing that we once enjoyed.

Mona Risk said...

Counting on writing income to support a family might be risky unless you are already a NY bestselling author. I write fulltime or as much as I can because I enjoy writing, but I'd be starving if I had to count on my meager checks.

Julia Barrett said...

If the income I make from my writing was my bread and butter, I would starve to death in a month. So no, I have a day job that pays extremely well. Wish it wasn't so!

Fran Lee Romance said...

Hey, girl! Mine started as a steam-valve back in the 80's and is now full time. But I am retired and have a decent retirement to live on, and if my books don't do well, I won't starve. Um...actually it would take me about 120 days to starve because I am sooo well-fortified with fanny fat. LOL!

Jean Hart Stewart said...

I definitely write more for pleasure than anything else. I think compulsion is the better word. I'm losing money at this point, so am glad to have retirement funds so I can keep on with writing, the work I love. My writing is pretty full-time.