A couple of weeks ago, one of my church’s elders gave a message about tithing. 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.