Monday, July 1, 2013
It's Not About the Money, and This is Why
I love to knit. I learned how when I was a kid and I was so bored in church that the only thing I could do to entertain myself was watch a woman next to me knitting. She offered to give me lessons, and I've been doing it ever since.
For Christmas last year, I made my husband a blanket that is easily my best work. He had made me a fleece BYU blanket when I graduated but couldn't find a fleece MSU pattern he liked for when he graduated, so I made a blanket myself.
As I painstakingly stitched every MSU signia into the knitting (watching Doctor Who and Downton Abbey the whole time), I thought to myself, "If Andrew ever doubts how much I love him, he can just look at all the work I put into this blanket."
When he unwrapped his gift Christmas morning, everyone in his family ooed and ahhed over it. I swelled with pride. Then they all gave me the same suggestion:
"You should sell these!"
To which I replied emphatically, "NO!"
Considering how much time I put into that blanket, if I charged as much as it was worth, no one could afford it. The fun part was designing something new; if I made the same project over again, it would feel less like an art and more like a craft. Most importantly, I made it because I love my husband, not because I love a customer.
If you take away the artistic expression and the love attached to that blanket, it isn't worth making. Not even for money.
It's the same way with writing novels. Someone once said novelists should never calculate how much money they make per hour because it's too depressing. Sure, we all would like to make money eventually, but most of us work tirelessly on our novels with no surety of a reward.
I used to think I could write for other people if my noveling career didn't pan out. Perhaps I'd be a freelancer, a ghostwriter, or a journalist. But writing for other people would never make me happy. It's not about the career, and it's not about the money. It's about the thrill of artistic expression.
And it's about the love.