For Love or Money?
My grandmother, a storyteller in her own right, gave me many old-fashioned phrases along with life advice, love, and some heritage. She often would use the phrase ‘for love or money’ and it’s one which stuck in my head. These days, with my lifelong dreams of being an author realized and I find myself chasing to keep up the pace, I’m often asked why do I write? Is it for love of the craft or for the money?
The honest answer is – both. I love to write. I’m blessed or cursed depending on how it’s viewed. I made up stories in my head as long as I can remember. I applied early stories to my baby dolls or my Barbies. I talked siblings and cousins into elaborate scenarios. We didn’t just play ‘house’. My version involved wagon trains and westward expansion, a variation I called ‘western days’. I had another in which our actions happened in the past I dubbed ‘olden days’, easy enough since we all lived in vintage houses at the time. I made up others like “Story of a Slave Girl” in which I danced with abandon to music on the record player (yes, I’m that old) while at least one male relative reclined to watch my antics in his role as the sheik, king, or prince.
I probably wasted too much time in school from primary grades through colleges because I often scribbled stories if the classroom activities failed to capture my attention. Even now, I see inspiration in almost everything – a flock of geese overhead (which I’ve seen two days in a row and it’s very early to see such in August round these parts), an overheard phrase, a lovely sunrise, or anything. But it’s the mind set I have, a brain which wants to turn everything into a story, long or short. Although I’ve only entered the world of novels as an author in the past two years, I’ve written for most of my life. Some of it was published in a variety of magazines, journals, newspapers and online venues and some wasn’t.
`Would I do it for free? No. I wouldn’t. While many folks these days have decided I am bloody, filthy rich because I have books out in the world, I’m not. I’m actually a long way from it. Heck, I don’t even have what I consider complete financial security. How much would it take for me to feel rich or secure? I don’t know – but I would love to determine the answer. Writing has become my business and it generates income. I just received royalties this past week and yes, those royalties helped pay for some needed school supplies for my kids, office supplies to keep my cottage industry going and some groceries to keep the family fed. But rich? Excuse me while I roll on the floor laughing with a pile of bills in my hand.
So I write both for love of the craft, a love of story and also for money.
Because after all, authors have to eat, put shoes on their kids feet even in the Ozarks, keep a roof overhead and have a little fun once in awhile.