Does it really matter whether or not I call this space a blog? To me, having a blog sets up the expectation of regularity. I’m not promising that. Because I’m a fiction writer who still works a full-time job in the daytime, I will probably have to really hustle to post new content weekly. Most of my available writing time goes to planning, plotting, outlining, writing, and publishing my next novel. I’m aware that many bloggers post at least weekly, and some even do it several times a week or daily. That will not be me. But I do have something to say about many things relevant and even useful for writers, whether the end product is fiction, non-fiction, poetry, scripts, or plays. And, I won’t be preachy or sanctimonious about it.
I’ll start by declaring that perseverance is the key to being successful at anything you try, especially if you want to be a successful fiction writer. Most people will interpret “successful fiction writer” to mean you have a New York publisher or agent or a book on a best sellers list somewhere. That is not what I mean by successful fiction writer. My definition of being a success is actually finishing your novel, going through the painstaking editing process – that includes a professional editor giving your project at least one pass through – and having a reader, or several, like your story. And, if you have readers who look forward to your next book, that is icing on your success cake!
Motivation is another important factor leading to success. I remember watching the reality show Survivor and hearing the host give a rousing pep talk to all the participants. He said many lofty things about what the game would do for them, how much they would be changed by the game, and how they would be stronger by the end of the season. All the words sounded good, but all I could think about was how each participant was motivated by money. The grand-prize was $1 million, and the second and third-place winners would receive $100,000 and $85,000, respectively. Unless you’re a celebrity or politician writing a book, fiction writers aren’t guaranteed that kind of money at the end of their projects. And, fiction writers are often told their motivation for writing should be to tell their stories and impart something profound to their readers. That’s not to say you aren’t trying to make money selling your books, but the getting of money shouldn’t be your main motivating factor.
I agree that money should not be your main motivating factor in fiction writing, but I think you should consider whether your projects will or can generate income. It takes many hours to complete that first draft, go through editing, perhaps write/edit several additional drafts, and finally finish the novel. I think considering if and when your novel will generate income can be a solid motivating factor in getting your projects complete, it just shouldn’t be the driving factor.