Writing for Love or Money – the Conclusion

Love can be the motive –

English: The photographer's wedding ring and i...
English: The photographer’s wedding ring and its heart-shaped shadow in a dictionary. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 but the profits of writing are diverse

A few weeks ago I began a series of posts on the theme of  ‘Writing for Love or Money’. I wanted to explore what motivates writers – including myself – to write, how money can be made from writing even without a traditional publishing contract – and to discover if money is ever the main motive. As part of the series I  invited several authors to contribute a guest post on what motivates them.

I hope you enjoyed discovering more about all of these talented writers and I want to say a huge thank you to all four of them – Helen Mackinven, Sara Sheridan, Dan Holloway and Andy Harrod for their time – and for sharing their personal and fascinating insights on the topic.

I think it came across very clearly that writing for me and my four guests is something that is vital to all of us. We are all very different types of writers and at different stages in our writing lives. We all write for different reasons – but we have a love of writing in common. Sara earns a living by writing and has a very successful, professional writing career and is published in the traditional way. Helen has studied writing as an academic discipline and is now writing her first novel. Dan and Andy are both unconventional and experimental in their writing. For them, publication is not at all about money, but is about communicating with themselves and with their readers.

For me, its an obsession and an addiction. It’s something I’ve always done as a way of hanging on – just – to my sanity. For me, it’s fun, challenging and therapeutic.

However, it’s only in recent years that I’ve come to think of publishing what I write. Having completed a novel as part of a midlife, now-or-never realisation, I realised I wanted it to be read. It hasn’t made me much money, but it has given me a huge amount of pleasure to have a (small) readership and to see my book in bookshops and online. I still have a day job, but if I’m honest I’d give up my long teaching career tomorrow if I could earn enough money from my writing.

And so to all writers reading this post, and its accompanying ones, I wish you well whatever your motivation. Remember,  keep on keeping on, and profit in whatever way suits you from your love of the written word.

Never About The Money

In this recent series of posts – ‘Writing for Love or Money’ I wanted to explore what motivates writers to write, how money can be made from writing even without a traditional publishing contract – and to discover if money is ever the main motive. As part of the series I have invited several authors to contribute a guest post on what motivates them. The contributors write very different  things and for different reasons. I hope you enjoy discovering more about all of these talented writers.

This is the fourth guest post and it comes from Andy Harrod. I first came across Andy’s work when visiting a virtual exhibition at Dan Holloway’s Eight Cuts Gallery http://danholloway.wordpress.com/eight-cuts-gallery/ and Andy was a contributor. (Dan will also be doing a guest post in this series). I particularly love Andy’s book ‘Living Room Stories’ and reviewed it here.


Never about the Money

by Andy Harrod

I began writing not because of books but due to music, for when I immerse myself in the lyrics they act as a springboard for me to connect with disparate parts of myself, bringing feelings and thoughts together. Of late I have been able to do the same with instrumental music, to drift closer to what I am feeling. Through this I began slowly to unravel myself and my love affair with writing began.

Writing ever since has been a case of capturing those sensations on my edge of awareness and what it means to me to be alive and true to myself. It is not an easy ride, it certainly doesn’t make money, but it is about love. Love for myself and for others. My writing is focused on me, I don’t think of an audience, only what I wish to understand about my thoughts and feelings to help myself and how I relate to other people. Often my writing focuses on emotions to develop an idea, present a perspective, which I hope I leave hanging on the page for the reader to play with.

My writing can therefore be seen as a selfish act or perhaps a selfless one, depending on your view of what it means to be individual. I see a world of individuals as a beautiful thing, with each of us fulfilling what it means to be us. The selfish view comes in through the belief that by allowing(!) people to do what they want there would be no community, but the community I see around me is almost non-existent and shattered as we play out the roles given/inherited. Through this I don’t see contentment, but I do see a comfortable boredom and resentment within a much divided society.

So what does this tangent have to do with the love of writing? That to enjoy writing I believe you need a connection with what you are writing about and a passion for it. It doesn’t matter what other people think, it matters what you think, though tell my self-critic that! Therefore I very much believe in writing for yourself and not for others or what may be in fashion at the time. Through this I have come to develop my own voice and style and I am truly happy with where I find myself.

My latest book, tearing at thoughts (http://79ratpress.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/our-contributors/), a collection of writing, art and photography, is the accumulation of my unravelling. I think of tearing at thoughts as an album, each piece works separately, but together they layer and resonate the unspoken and the lost. It leaves me feeling exposed, as if I have laid bare my sense of self through a group of fictional characters as I attempt to bring the hidden and pushed aside into focus, through the hope that if it is brought into awareness, change may occur. I finally believe in my writing voice and I won’t allow it to be corrupted by paper lies. Of course it would be great to make a living from my writing, but I would never want it to control what I write. I would rather feel exposed. For the genuine, heartfelt and thoughtful comments I have received is the reward I want, and to be honest, the reward I have sought since I started writing.


Andy Harrod is a writer, who writes not out of a desire to tell stories, but a need to understand, to find meaning and connect with self and life. Outside of writing Andy is a trainee person-centred therapist and runs the streets of Lancaster, one day soon the fells of the Lake District.


Living Room Stories was Andy’s first release, handmade (http://decodingstatic.blogspot.co.uk/p/living-room-stories.html) and kindle (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Living-Room-Stories-ebook/dp/B008HSMGGI/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1341573814&sr=1-1) editions are available.

tearing at thoughts is to be published by 79 rat press as part of their NOTHING TO SAY (http://79ratpress.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/our-contributors/) exhibition, available to buy from June 2013.

BLOG: Andy posts stories, photos, art and thoughts at Decoding Static (http://decodingstatic.blogspot.co.uk/).

TWITTER: Say hello at  @DecodingStatic (http://twitter.com/DecodingStatic)

Writing for Love or Money – Dan Holloway Guest Post

In this recent series of posts – ‘Writing for Love or Money’ I wanted to explore what motivates writers to write, how money can be made from writing even without a traditional publishing contract – and to discover if money is ever the main motive. As part of the series I have invited several authors to contribute a guest post on what motivates them. The contributors write very different  things and for different reasons. I hope you enjoy discovering more about all of these talented writers.

This is the third in the series of guest posts. I first ‘met’ Dan Holloway several years ago on a peer review writers website. Later I kept up with him on Twitter and we both write for Words with Jam, an online magazine for writers. I have also visited and reviewed two virtual exhibitions of art and writing curated by Dan at his Eight Cuts Gallery. Dan is a true ‘indie’ writer as you will see.


Love or Money

by Dan Holloway

 It’s a truism that if you don’t love writing, really love it, you’ll get nowhere – wherever it is you want to go. But for me it goes beyond that. When I’ve tried to make money from my writing I’ve felt like my writing has really suffered, I’ve been distracted from the goals I’d always set for my writing. It even got to the stage where I have removed one of my books, which I originally self-published to make money, from availability for good.

My parents bought me an old school desk for my 3rd birthday, and I’d sneak downstairs to scribble at it almost every night, but despite that and the fact that our house always creaked beneath the weight of books, and I was brought up to idolise the likes of Virginia Woolf and Colette, the main creative influence in my life has always been art. And the desire to transfer the vibrancy I feel in the art world into the way people see books, combined with a love of philosophy and a burning ambition that comes from playing competitive sports from an early age, has led me to turn my back on the idea of ever making money. Or at least to consider it an irrelevance. I still feel slightly nervous putting my goals on paper (exactly the kind of nervousness that separates a lot of literature from a lot of art) because it sounds so over-reaching, arrogant even. I feel the need to make the obvious postscript every time I do – I am not saying I think I’m good enough to do it, I’m saying I have to try.

In short, I want to make literature the stuff of watercooler conversations the way the likes of Tracey Emin has done for art. I want people to look at books in new ways, to get excited by the possibilities they hold, to make them question what books, stories, words, really are and what they can do. And I want to unpick the structural power games, the patriarchies and colonialisms inherent in every language system, to pull language apart and with it the straightjacket that constrains the way we think of ourselves in the world, and to create from the unravelled mess a poetics of hope, the possibility of every voice truly being able to inject itself into the world.

The practical upshot of this is that what I feel most compelled to write is something no self-respecting publisher would go near. At least not one without a whopping subsidy behind it enabling it to take on board projects with very little chance of selling more than a handful of copies.

But it’s a very hard furrow to plough without deviation. The pull towards something more commercial is incredibly strong. I’ve succumbed to it on several occasions, trying to write thrillers – having a measure of commercial success in the process, but then finding people only wanted to talk to me about marketing or crime fiction, and that the things so deeply ingrained in my writing DNA were being left out of the picture. At other times I’ve found my spoken word shows reaching a wide audience and offered the opportunity to reach a wider one – if I just altered the content a little, made it more widely acceptable.

Pretty much once every six months I find I have to remind myself what I really want from writing, and radically repositioning myself towards the margins. It’s an incredible wrench, and when I am struggling to make basic rent and debt repayments every month it’s even harder, but it feels so much better when I do. And whilst it’s 99% certain that I’ll never achieve my goals, if I head down the path of even thinking about making money, that figure becomes 100%. So, my next project (after my first solo show at Cheltenham Poetry Festival, Some of These Things Are Beautiful, which is a poetic journey through the world of lost friendship), Evie and Guy, due out in May, is a novel without any words, told wholly in numbers. And I will be launching 6 titles from new, largely experimental, poets through my small imprint 79 rat press on June 10th.

You can see YouTube clips of Dan reading his work at the two links immediately below. N.B.Please be aware that although there is no swearing, the content is adult in nature.

Her Body https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=qXXdIqA8LsI

Hungerford Bridge https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Q8HRava-2hc


http://danholloway.wordpress.com (where my collection “i cannot bring myself to look at walls in case you have graffitied them with love poetry”, which accompanies my spoken word show, is free to download, along with my experimental novel “The Man Who Painted Agnieszka’s Shoes”)


You can also read an illuminating interview with Dan over on Jill Marsh’s blog at http://jjmarsh.wordpress.com/2013/04/22/not-the-granta-1-dan-holloway/#comment-1845 –