It’s Not the money…Or is It?

A couple of weeks ago, one of my church’s elders gave a message about RRWeb-ILL-DollarSign_1tithing. In it, he talked about how so many people make money such a huge part of their lives, and how they worry and obsess over it.

It called to mind my own behavior about my writing over the last few years. I was paid for my writing for the first time in 2012. Since then, I’ve been working my tail off to get paid more for my writing. So that evening after church, I asked Justin, “Do you think I’m focusing too much on the monetary aspect of writing, rather than just the fact that I love doing it?”

As we discussed it, I wondered why I cared whether I got paid or not. I’d never cared before that first check in 2012. And it’s not as if we need the money. Justin has a great job, one that allows us to live comfortably on one income. We’ve never really had to worry much about money.

Sure, there are things I’d love to do that wouldn’t be possible unless we have more money. But those are purely in what I call the “ultra-luxury” category. I’d like to take a family trip to Europe, or Hawaii. It would be nice to finish all of our house fixes immediately. And I’d love to be able to donate to as many Kickstarter campaigns and worthy charities as I want. But I don’t need those things to be happy. I’m more than happy and content right now, where we’re at.

And so I realized that I don’t necessarily covet the perks of making money from my writing. I see earning a wage more as validation of the time and energy I sink into tapping out stories. I want that validation for when I think that I’m wasting time sitting in front of the computer, when I could be spending a few more minutes with Justin and Toby, or reading, or exercising…or a myriad of other things.

When I explained that to Justin, he told me, “You wouldn’t be wasting your time, even if you never earned anything. Not to me, anyway.”

It was nice to hear that. I neded it as a reminder that making something from my writing isn’t the only kind of validation out there. My husband’s confidence, hearing from folks who like my stories, and even just the happiness that creating imaginary worlds people brings me, all these are good reasons to spend time writing, as long as I balance it healthily with other things in life.


About H. A. Titus

H. A. Titus is usually found with her nose in a book or spinning story-worlds in her head. Her love affair with fantasy began at age twelve, when her dad handed her The Lord of the Rings after listening to it on tape during a family vacation. Her stories have been published in Digital Dragon Magazine, Residential Aliens Magazine, and four anthologies: Alternative Witness; Avenir Eclectia Volume 1; The Tanist's Wife and Other Stories; and Different Dragons Volume II. In December 2013, her short story "Dragon Dance" won Honorable Mention in a Writers of the Future contest. She lives on the shores of Lake Superior with her meteorologist husband and young son, who do their best to ensure she occasionally emerges into the real world. When she's not writing, she can be found rock-climbing, skiing, or hanging out at her online home, hatitus.wordpress.com.

4 comments on “It’s Not the money…Or is It?

  1. You sound very much (in your bio and in this blog, among others) as a fellow NF in temperament. We don’t write for money, not at heart – or at least we’re the least likely to care about that (perhaps S_Js with their logistic skill set are the most likely to focus on money). We write because it gives us some kind of personal validation and because most of us (especially the ENFPs and INFPs) are gifted in asking “what if…?” and creating totally imaginary worlds thereby.

    ENTPs and INTPs have that kind of intuition too and a writing partner I have is INTP but as a T-preferenced person (logical judgment, not value judgment) he is plot-driven rather than character-driven. He relies on me to fill in the personal relationships. But neither of us write for money, not in fiction. We write because we can do nothing else.

    So write accordingly and let the money come, or not, as it will. 😀

  2. Reblogged this on Tales of the Undying Singer and commented:
    H. A. Titus, a self-admitted word nerd, lives on the shores of Lake Superior with her meteorologist husband. She lives most of the day in an imaginary land or with her nose stuck in a book. Occasionally her husband manages to pull her into the real world long enough for an exciting adventure such as jetskiing or snowmobiling. She began writing at age 8. At age 12, she discovered The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, became a fantasy nerd, and never looked back. She writes stories set in fantasy, science fiction, urban fantasy, and steampunk worlds. H. A. Titus is currently rewriting/editing her fantasy novel, Half Blood, as well as working on numerous novellas in science fantasy and urban fantasy genres.

  3. “And so I realized that I don’t necessarily covet the perks of making money from my writing. I see earning a wage more as validation of the time and energy I sink into tapping out stories.”

    This is something that’s been in the back of my mind lately. How do I know I’m writing for the right reasons? Good points to ponder here.

  4. Well John – I believe with all of my heart you write first and always for the sheer joy of serving the brethren. I feel it and know it to be true. It is true that to have more of what we may want if we aren’t coveting those things, isn’t a bad thing. But it is a matter of our heart and what lies therein. I trust you and I know you trust in God and all else is just “stuff.” You know what is right.

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