The Business of Writing

As a writer, when you tell people what you do, you quickly get used to a familiar reaction - 

I've always wanted to write a book.

In which case, great. Go for it. Writing a book is a wonderful challenge, with so much to offer. 

But! One thing to bear in mind (and excuse the pun here) - 

Write for the right reasons. 

The business of writing is not as glamorous and lucrative as many seem to think. Nothing like it. 

This is a youthful me, from seven years ago, doing my best thoughtful, writerly pose. 

It comes from a time when I adapted my first book for the stage, a beautiful moment, and I'll explain why I mention it in a moment. 

First, back to the point of this musing, which is - 

If you want to write a book to get rich, you're unlikely to succeed.

It's just like being an entrepreneur, starting up your own business.

It's going to take a lot of time, effort and heart, and the odds are stacked against you. 

I'm sorry to say this, and be a rain cloud in the sky, but the large majority of people who write books don't get published. 

And even if they do, what do they make on each novel?

Most writers I know, who are published and reasonably successful, on average get about...

£10,000 total for each book they write. 

Which sounds decent, until you consider it's probably taken at least a year to get there, and quite possibly several years.

Yes, some big name writers do pretty well. But they're a tiny minority. 

It's a sad fact that the business of writing, by and large, is not an easy one. 

However! 

You know me, and my relentless (and doubtless sometimes irritating) positivity.

Which is why, so far, I've only been talking about the business side of writing.

Because there's something more important to consider - 

If you want to learn about yourself, and understand yourself in a way you probably never have before, not to mention the world around you, and other people, and life itself, and you want to feel incredibly fulfilled, and a remarkable sense of achievement, and want to wake every morning looking forward to the day ahead, and what you can write, and observe, and think about, and plan for your writing, and then set down on paper...

Then give writing a try. 

The reason I mentioned the play, earlier, is that it was a charitable production for the hospice movement.

Because they're a wonderful bunch, as I've seen at first hand, and they deserve all the support they can get.

So helping them through my writing was a double delight. 

And I haven't even mentioned all the beautiful places I've visited courtesy of my writing, the amazing people I've met, the range of experiences I've known, the teaching I've done, the authors I've helped to get published...

Yes, the job of writing is a tough one. 

But the benefits package... that's unrivalled.