Writing For Fun vs Writing For Money

I'm known mostly as a writer of Fantasy and Weird Horror short stories.

Interestingly I'm also a full time career writer.

I say interestingly, because most people who know my name, hear my name and then assume I'm making a full time income writing Fantasy and Weird Horror.


I write Fantasy and Weird Horror for fun. It makes money here and there, but that only means $100 this month, $200 next month. Not a full time income.

When people ask about this, I point out: "Did you notice I said I was a full time career WRITER and I DID NOT say I was a full time career AUTHOR?"

They'll be, what's the difference?

I'll explain: A full time career AUTHOR makes money writing fiction; a full time career WRITER makes money writing whatever freelance non-fiction writing assignment comes along.

In short: I write fiction short stories, novellas, and novels for fun, and I write non-fiction articles to pay the bills and keep food on the table.

Writing is my job, but not all forms of writing make a lot of money, so I have to diversify what I write and often take on writing assignments that I don't find fun, because those are the ones that pay better.

A lot of fellow writers on various writing forums have pointed out to me that the reason my fiction doesn't make a lot of money is because of the genre I write and they say: "Write Erotica! Write Romance! Write this, or write that, whatever the hot selling topic is that month (vampires, billionaires, etc.)"

I tried. Yep. I can write a billionaire 50 Shades knock off. I did it. And you know what? I hated every minute of writing it. People liked it. People wanted more. But I not only didn't write more, but I also unpublished the one I did write. Why? Because it wasn't me. It wasn't who I was. It sat there sticking out like a sore thumb next to my pink unicorns and Elf wizards. I hated it. I absolutely hated that book. Had I left it up, it probably would have brought in good money, just like all the 50 Shades knock offs do, but, I cringe every time I think of that book and the fact that it was "fake". It just wasn't "me". By that I mean, my readers know me for a certain writing style. I write Absurdist Dark Fantasy Horror Unicorn Porn Yaoi and spend an inordinate amount of time tossing Elves in bed with Unicorns. Yeah, I know, it's not every one's cup of tea, in fact, Unicorn Porn is such a tiny small niche genre that I am one of only 7 authors on the planet who write it, and none of us has ever sold more then 7,000 copies of any title because there are fewer then 7,000 readers of Unicorn Porn on the planet. So, yeah, of course this is a genre that doesn't make much money, and yeah, if I switched to writing something else, sure I'd make more money.... but, I wouldn't have fun writing it.

That's the thing I learned that really hit me when I wrote the 50 shades knock off book. It made me realize how much fun I have writing the weird freaky sex lives of Elves with Unicorn fetishes. I can (and do) write Unicorn obsessed Elf wizards on a daily basis, and it's as second nature to me as breathing. I pop out a new story for the series 2 or 3 times a week. The series has 2,000+ short stories and 130+ novels in it now. I'm obsessively writing this series all the time, none stop, because I love it. I write it without thinking about it. I love writing it so it's easy for me to write it.

But the 50 shades knock off book? I had no interest in the characters or the genre. I was bored out of my mind writing it. It took me forever to write it. It was a slog to write. I tried writing a Murder Mystery Thriller next. Never even finished that one. Tried to do a Urban Paranormal Romance... it barely got started before I tossed it. I know if I sat down and forced myself, I could push through to the end and write these "hot topic" genres, but I'd really have to force myself and I'd hate every minute of it. I'd be miserable. And it'd probably show through in my writing by the time I got done too.

So I was faced with doing one of 2 options: I could write 1 "bestselling topic" novel a year and be bored out of my mind and hate what I wrote but make a good income from it or I could write lots and lots of shitty selling novels a year for half the income of 1 best selling genre one and have fun doing it

And I do the same thing when writing the non-fiction articles too. I don't just write any topic at random (though it may seem that way.) While I do write a wide range of topics from sewing to gardening to pets to cars to camping to homelessness to Gypsy culture to Maine history to how to write Fantasy novels... yes, at first it looks like I'm writing topics all over the play, but when you take a good look at it, you see that it's only a few topics over and over again nd these topics are all topics related to my personal life and hobbies. I live in Maine, I'm a Gypsy by race, I sew my own clothes and grew my own food and grow roses, I collect antique cars and build art cars... the topics I write non-fiction articles about are all topics I know and love and am passionate about.

If I tried to write an article on dieting or fly fishing or playing chess or health news or football or planes... I'd be lost and clueless and bored out of my mind and hate writing.

Once again I'm faced with the option of writing 1 or 2 hot topic articles a month and hating what I write or writing lots of smaller niche topic articles each week and loving every minute of it.

So, you see, the trick to writing for fun and making money, is to write things you are passionate about, and writing both fiction and non-fiction, and writing a lot of it.

I publish 2 to 3 non-fiction articles A DAY (2,000+ words each article), 2 to 3 short stories a week, and 4 to 6 novels a year.

Sure, it's a lot of writing, and yes, I do have to write more then most other writers because the topics I write are not popular topics, but because I'm writing things I enjoy writing, it's not a chore to keep on top of and I love doing it.

In the end, I was faced with writing a few hot topic money making things a year or writing lots and lots of little niche topic things are year for less money and I chose to write more for less but have fun doing it. Living joyfully turned out to be more important to me then being wealthy.

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