I had a conversation with my husband awhile back about whether writing was "worth it." Being the practical guy that he is, he had to *try* and break down the hours I spend writing and compare that to the possible money I might make. (He didn't even factor in time spent blogging, marketing, researching, or social media-ing.) At the time, I was yet unpublished, but even once I signed my contract, he asked me multiple times how much money I expected to make.
I understand where he's coming from. He has a 9-5 job, he works hard, he's our breadwinner. If I was the breadwinner, I'd probably have to think a lot more along these lines of HOW MUCH? Or to put it his way, is it worth it?
I received a royalty statement this week, my third one so far. Every time I get one of these I'm reminded that I'm not in this for the money. Sure, all writers want to be a bestseller and make the big bucks. But I think all writers (or at least most, otherwise what delusions are you living under?) know that's not realistic. Over ten years ago I took a writing course at university and was told that the average Canadian writer makes $20,000 a year. Despite the cost of everything going up since then, I highly doubt that average has. Writers just don't make a lot of money. I can dream big, and my husband can too (he's still holding out hope that he'll be able to retire early thanks to me... hahahahahahaha). But what he doesn't understand, what anyone who isn't in the arts doesn't understand, is that it's not about the money. It CAN'T be about the money, otherwise we'd all quit before we really started.
We write because we love it. We write because we have to. We write because it's the ONE THING we want to do more than anything. And if that means I won't be able to buy Manolo's or trade up my mini-van for an Escalade, so be it. When my husband asked how much I expected to make, I couldn't answer him. I really couldn't. I didn't/don't have expectations- especially since it's my first book because maybe no one will like it, who's to know? I can't put a money value on this work of art that I made or estimate how many copies will be sold.
I write this post as much for me as anyone because it is a little disappointing opening that royalty statement and realizing... nope, I haven't hit it big. This is a good reminder to me that I don't do this to get paid. That was never my end goal. I do it because I love it. End of story.