Touching lives or making money? Which matters more? That’s Janet Ann Collins’ question.
Her question assumes those are the two top priorities for writing. Perhaps I’d like to make money with my writing, and I truly want to influence others and, in the process, enrich their lives. Do I need to quantify?
However, for me, the major motive in writing is that it’s something I must do. Name it compulsion. Calling. Ministry. Vocation. If I made no money, I’d still write. If I never received feedback that my words encouraged others, I’d still do it.
Some people boast that they care only about the dollars they bring in, but that may be misleading. If their writings didn’t affect people, likely they wouldn’t continue. Touching lives may be to entertain, inform, or challenge thinking. To continue to sell successfully, we have to impact readers in some measure.
This leads me to say my motive is primary. I’ve never focused on either influencing or making money. Like Nike urges us, I just do it.
I know writers who rarely sell anything and say they’re more interested in changing lives than making money. We don’t influence readers unless we sell our work. And too often authors won’t work hard enough to learn or pay someone who can help them learn.
Some give away their writing on blogs or nonpaying magazines and the more honest ones will say, “Because I can’t sell them.”
It must be frustrating to write, write, write, and have few sales. I’m convinced that if we have the right message and communicate it well, eventually we’ll sell our material and we’ll change lives.
Thus if we sell our manuscripts, we actually do both.