I live a pleasant life, but rest assured when my time comes, I'll be able to jump through that needle-eye like a chihuahua through Saturn's rings. And that's okay. It has to be to be a writer.

Do writers ever make it big? Sure they do. Are writers ever wealthy? Sure they are. But you shouldn't write because you want to get rich or be on Jimmy Fallon with ScarJo on your arm. You should write because you like to tell stories, money be damned. The truth is, most everyone who puts finger to keyboard won't earn enough for a regular night out at Taco Bell. They won't rise above the hundred-thousands ranking on Amazon.

And that's okay.

Write because you want to write, because some void inside you isn't filled until you're laying plots and forming dialogue. Write because it's fun, because it's an escape from the ordinary, because you want to tell the rest of the world something. If you get paid for it, capital!

Just don't write for money.

The amount of cold cash you earn from a piece is in no way directly representative of the quality or value of the piece. I have written (what I think, anyway) some excellent pieces of fiction that haven't made more than a buck or two. I have also written (what I think, anyway) some less-than-stellar pieces that have made the same amount or more. And if you're wondering why I'd publish less-than-stellar work, all I can say in defense is that I throw everything I've got into every story, but sometimes I can't make something work as well as I initially wanted. But if the chef burns the chicken, he's still gotta serve it...

Take your success as it comes. If you write a short story that lands on the top hundred for Amazon Kindle downloads in your genre, pat yourself on the back. Even if it's a freebee you're giving away, be proud of your accomplishment. Some people might download your work and hate it, but I guarantee you you'll find a fan every so often. And the fans are the ones you work for. Everytime I upload another story, someone from Germany downloads it. Maybe it isn't the same person every time, but who knows? I keep picturing some bored housewife in Düsseldorf hyperventilating when I list a new piece. She runs into the back room of her house and tears through stacks of half-made quilts to retrieve her e-reader, then fumbles excitedly at the keyboard to download whatever's new. She spends the next fifteen minutes in teary-eyed joy as Der Leberkase smolders in the oven.

Hey, it could happen...

Just don't write for yourself. Write for yourself and those fans...those people whose lives you've embellished and reworked into giving a damn about you. They want you to succeed, too. And don't write for money. Money is a nice benefit, but it isn't an end unto itself. If you make writing all about money, you'll soon be in a deep funk because you won't be seeing much. Even financially successful authors will tell you that the first few years are pretty lean. If you focus on the monetary returns, you'll lose your passion because no one likes to spin their wheels for nothing. Its like pulling weeds from a hundred-acre lawn or digging a hole in a sand dune with a shovel. Pretty soon, you're going to be crushed under the mounting futility of the task. If you chill out and just do the best you can and find the pace that makes you happiest, there's a chance a guy with a truckload of Roundup or a backhoe will happen by.

Write often (every day if you can), enjoy yourself while you're doing it. Above all, never give up. Never surrender. And if that doesn't make you want you to shout 'Molon Labe' and go punch something in the face, I don't know what will.


Until next time...