On Writing

I have loved telling stories my entire life. I am good telling stories.

I am a writer.

My father’s words echoed in my head for many, many years.

You will never make any money as a writer.

—my father.

I should be fair. He said “artist,” but writing is my art. I discarded that a long time ago as “not a real career.” I ran away from myself for many years, but I always came back to the same conclusion. I am a writer. That’s how God made me.

So now the next question is, “How do I make money as a writer?”

As far as I can tell, that has to be a side-gig for a very long time. You have to be willing to make no money for a long time so you can make a lot of money later on. That’s true of a lot of things. Do what you love. Get really good at it. Then you will make money.

I’ve seen a lot of different advice:

  • Practice for 10,000 hours
  • Write 100 articles
  • Write 1,000 words

It seems like they are all saying the same thing. Write a lot. You’ll get better.

From what I’ve seen so far, that’s really true.

I self-published a book on Amazon. I envisioned it being a runaway smash. I would make oodles of money. I would be invited to speak at writer’s conferences.

How many copies did I sell. About 10.

How many reviews did I get. Two. One was from a friend. The other was just one word—Meh.

Ouch.

In anger, I calculated how much money I would have made working at Taco Bell for minimum wage. I felt worse.

But you know what? I wrote a book!

How many of you have written a book?

I look back at the prose. It’s really not good. I’m going back to release Book Two. If that catches on, I will re-write Book One. If not, I will write Book Three before re-writing Book One. I’m not hoping that Book Two will be a runaway success. I’m not making that mistake again.

I’m not writing for you anymore. I’m writing for me.

I was in the hospital for three months. I thought I would die. I did die once, in fact. My heart stopped and I had to be revived. This is my second chance. What am I going to do about it? Am I going to think about the trilogy that was always on my mind that I didn’t publish?

That was one of my regrets in that hospital bed.

I have had this idea for a trilogy of books since high school. That was like 30 years ago! Talk about procrastination.

So, my writing goals: One article per day. One chapter of my book each week.

Will I hit 10,000 hours of practice? Eventually.

Will I publish 100 articles on Medium? Eventually.

Will I write 1,000,000 words. Eventually.

Will I make any money? I do not care.

I am a writer. Writers write.


This is article #12 of 100… or so. I have written 12,820 words of 1,000,000. I have 987,180 words to go (I love spreadsheets). How many hours. Sheeze… you can’t track everything, yo. Get a life!

–Dude, seriously!

Click here to join Matt’s Writing Journey.

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