I'm speaking hypothetically here--I hope to stay in the crime-writing biz at least long enough to see my series through to its logical end two or three more books down the road. But for me it is a business, and my interest in doing it is weighed against questions of money and time. If I take time away from my day-job to write another book, will I lose money on the deal? Do I really want to lock myself into another two book deal at my age, when there are other things I want to write? What kind of advance would I need to make writing another one worth my while? What would I do if said advance wasn't forthcoming?

What about you-all? Are you in it for the long-haul, no matter what? Or could you walk away if the industry wasn't giving you what you needed to keep going? Is there a third option--waiting on the sidelines with your next project, maybe, until the recession lifts and the industry emerges, smaller but (one hopes) smarter? Conversely, should we take what we can get now, while the getting's good--because two or five or ten years down the road everyone will be giving electronic books away for free? Another future of the industry question, I guess--but I'm asking specifically as it relates to you and your current/next project.

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A lifetime of disappointment in novel writing seems daunting on paper, but so did finding a job after college. So did getting a job as a crime reporter at a newspaper. So did finding work in magazines and new media. To me, novel writing is another job. The only difference is I'm not relying on it to pay the bills. So long as that's the case and my fingers are attached, I can't walk away.

Oh youthful idealism, how you mock me...
sorry for the deletions! I sometimes forget that crimespace comments show up in google searches. this was a good reminder: personal branding in the age of google
No worries. I learned (sort of) my lesson about online circumspection last year (long story--blog post making fun of people who would become colleagues--ack!). One does want to be careful how one frames things. My initial post in this thread went through several drafts before I hit the button.
ouch!
Yeah. I try not to post to the blog while drinking martinis anymore.
I write because I love writing. And I write what I like because I enjoy it, not with any thought to how commercial it may be. The book I've just finished may never get published, may only ever have a few people read the manuscript, but of those who do, if even one says "I really enjoyed that, it cheered me up on a shite day", then that's great. Of course, in an ideal world, I would love to be able to spend all day doing something I really love - whether that's writing or sitting on my fat bum eating bonbons, but that's not going to happen. Currently I work full time, I'm studying for a degree in psychology, I've just signed up to be a volunteer advocate for people who need a voice, and I write. Only one of those things gives me an income. The others I do because I'm interested and/or they're fun. They're part of being me. If I had to write to make a living would some of the fun go out of it? I would hate that.

I am under no illusions that I'm a good writer, in fact, I think my writing is pretty crap. But I love doing it. And I hope that shows when someone's reading what I've written. Even if that's just my mum (who thinks I'm warped, by the way).
Hey, taking it from a guy who's been writing for over 40 years and has had damn little--if any--success. You get angry at your lack of success and you throw your hands up in disgust and walk away from the keyboard mumbling you'll never touch the sonofabitch'n keys again! Ever!

And then three months later, literately like a bolt from Zeus' throne, a plot explodes in your head that gets you as excited as the first night you had sex. And guess what? You're back on that sonofabitch'n keyboard again pounding away like some madman with an axe.

Writing is in your blood, buddy. It's like breathing. You can't fight it. Why try?
I think everyone dreams of making a real career out of writing. Everyone hopes that one day they'll be getting a seven figure advance for all the hard work they put in. But only a handful of people are actually that lucky.

That's why we have day jobs!

Right now, I'm studying to be an english teacher because there aren't any jobs in journalism anymore. I have to wait until someone either dies or goes on maternity leave! But I still write 2000 words every night before I go to sleep. It's like therapy. I do it for fun.

If I could have fun all day and get paid for it, that would be wonderful! And I'm sure that if I ever started to earn a living from writing, there will be times when the fun will be sucked out of it and it will start to feel like work - I think that's the time when you should think about giving up. Because if writing ever started to feel like work - then what would I do for fun?

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