Write with money in mind!
Every now and then, I come across this advice from new content creators: write for the love of writing. This is disquieting, especially when this suggestion is directed towards those who have just started their writing journey.
Write for the love of writing? Bah! What a brick wall of blather!
I might have suggested this early on in this blog, to practice writing for the love of writing. Practice is the operative word here. This piece of advice, to do practice writing for the love of writing, is specific to those who are just thinking of, or simply considering, writing as a career, not as a hobby.
Journaling, by the way, is an example of writing as a hobby. It remains a hobby, until you have it published to be read and earn from it.
Writing with money in mind
There is nothing grubby in writing with money in mind.
When I was 12 years old, I earned my first writer’s fee when the story I submitted to a radio program was chosen, and was used in an hour of soap.
The show, called Dear Tiya Dely, was an aunt-agony type program. It was aired Monday to Saturday, mid-afternoons. The listeners sent by snail mail their problems in life. The host, Tiya Dely, would then give her advice after reading the letter.
The “best” or most agonizing problem was dramatized on Saturdays, with the host dispensing her advice after the dramatization.
During those days, radio soap opera was a big thing. But I wasn’t a fan. I preferred reading. But I was a captive listener because of my step-grandmother. She was a diehard, listening to the program while I did my homework or school projects in the same room.
The thing was, I didn’t have a real problem to consult with Tiya Dely. So I created a problem which I based lightly on the life of a neighbor. I wrote this problem-story, creatively, with the prize money in mind.
And I received what I had in mind, money, for the story that I made up.
That was an eye-opener for a child like me: there is money in writing.
Making readers happy a must
Soap operas, either on the radio or television if you noticed, thrived on problems. The more complicated and harrowing these dramatized problems are, the better. The listeners and the viewers lap those up – as long as the endings are happy.
The same is true in serials and novels in print. Readers are tethered on the complex characters and the mushrooming problems – but a happy ending is a requirement.
Short stories in print, because of limited reading time, cannot dwell at length on the problems of the protagonists. A happy resolution is a must, or the readers will cry murder, i.e. readers will take note resulting in unhappy, empty pockets.
Satisfying the readers synonymous with filling your pocket
Writing for the love of writing is for fledglings who want to learn the discipline and hone their craft. Practice writing is an activity that helps the aspirant develop and better his or her skills.
But this period of doing practice writing and observe the discipline should be scrapped as soon as this aspirant starts writing to earn.
This is the very reason why you should write for the money. Writing for money is in tandem with writing what the readers want, what they’re interested in, and what they crave to read.
Even famous authors write to satisfy their readers’ cravings. And look at what their stellar success in giving in to their readers’ cravings has brought them? They were catapulted by satisfied readers and happy customers in the writing universe of wealth and fame.
So, if you’re aiming for a career in writing, forget about this ideal of writing because you love to write.
Stop doing your practice writing as soon as you feel ready, or even half-ready, to write what readers want to read.
Write with money – and write for your target readers – in mind.
Happy writing for the $$$. 😊
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First published on Medium.