Somewhere around the age of twelve, I decided I wanted to be a writer. I immersed myself in the world of books and fell in love with the writings of Nikki Giovanni and Maya Angelou. When I was in college, I declared to my English professor, Kwame Dawes, that I’d have my first book published by the time I was twenty-five.
Things didn’t go as planned because I took some time to complete menial tasks like getting married, buying a home, having children…you know…small things like that.
It wasn’t until I was thirty-seven years of age when my first book was finally published. And it’s been a world wind since then, producing 4 books in 4 years.
Just recently I’ve become begrudgingly absorbed in my book sales, monthly profit reports, and marketing strategies. The frustration of it all has certainly taken a toll on my creativity. My focus has shifted from an in-depth literary analysis of my characters to “how can I sell more books in order to make more money?” And this will not do.
In a conversation with a friend whom I consider to be a marketing guru, I received exceptional advice on how to get more eyes on my site, which will lead to more book sales. His suggestions were great, but they didn’t match my personal goals.
That conversation gave me a moment of clarity…I’m not a saleswoman. I don’t want to sell t-shirts. I’m not compiling an email marketing list, I’m not interested in the bait and hook of potential customers.
I just want to write and share my writing with the world. That’s it. I just want to write. Often times I have to remind myself that Nikki Giovanni, one of the most notable American writers of today, still teaches creative writing. Colin Channer and Zadie Smith are college professors. My point is, even professional writers who have won countless awards and have their names on the New York Times best seller’s list are still working full-time jobs.
My moment of clarity has helped me go back to the notion that writing brings me a certain freedom and peace that I’m not likely to find in any other source. So, whether I sell a hundred books or a million, I write because it is my passion, not to make a profit.
What’s your reason for writing? Have you gotten caught up in the numbers? Don’t allow your judgement to become clouded with expanding audiences and updated analytics. Get back to the heart of writing. Get pack to your passion.