How to be True to Yourself as a Writer

Write what you love and you’ll get where you want to be

When you’re a writer, you may find yourself writing things you don’t really enjoy in order to make money. If you want to be a success, should you be true to yourself, or do what pays more?

I have been writing for many years through a variety of venues, and I have found that often you get paid more writing about subjects and in forms that you may not enjoy than you can when you do what you want. I’ve often wondered if it’s better to get paid now doing something you don’t like, or get paid later doing something you love.

It’s been my experience that when I write about things I’m not really interested in, like celebrities or current events, my work suffers because I don’t care as much about the topic. However, those topics seem to offer the highest pay. I’ve also noticed that I dislike writing within limited formats, such as how-to, but I can get paid well for them. When I write what I want, I get little or no pay for it.

So, is it better to do things I don’t like and get paid, or do what I like and maybe not get paid? I’ve been trying to find a middle ground, and so far have had some success. I write educational articles with SEO and LSI, and I get paid. I also write my op/ed and hope that the views will make up for the lack of up-front payment. I’ve also written a lot of poetry, and my book is out there is case anyone ever decides to buy it.

Even though I am finding a middle ground, I have discovered one thing that most certainly does not work. If you do nothing but write within displeasing confines in order to make money, you are going to come to hate what you do. That’s not to say that you won’t be able to make money. Many people have jobs that they hate, and they make good money. Unfortunately, they’re also miserable. They can say that they’re someone who writes to make money, but they can’t truly consider themselves writers.

No matter what, you have to do some of the kind of writing that makes you happy. It’s even possible that by being true to yourself as a writer, you’ll gain more fame and fortune than if you fit yourself into the box of conformity. Think of the writers and comedians and such that became famous for bucking the trend and having views that were controversial. When you are doing what you want, you have greater potential to stand out from the crowd.

If you’re trying to write for a living, like I am, it’s probably best to mix writing that pays with writing that is true to who you are. Get your “real” work out there amidst all the paid work you do. There are plenty of online venues that will allow you to write what you want and get it into the public eye. You can even use self-publishing sites like Lulu to publish your book if you’ve written one, even if it’s something no traditional publisher would ever touch.

If you want to be a standard success in the writing world, there are a few ways to go about it. If you want to be a success in your own eyes and eventually in the writing world, then you have to be true to yourself and write what’s in your heart. Do the writing, get it out there, and see what happens. You may be pleasantly surprised.

“Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.”  Cyril Connolly (1903 – 1974)


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