This morning, someone posted a meme to a FB book group that said, 'I'd rather be happy than write a bestseller'. And of course, she got people arguing with her. (Which is the norm for FB. You could post a picture of a rock and people would argue that it's a stone.) One of the arguers actually said something along the lines of 'I'd give away my happiness if I could be a bestseller*'.
Anyway, the original post got me to thinking.
And it made me sad, because I started thinking that maybe this poor writerly soul has convinced herself that the only way to be happy is to act as if sales no longer matter. Like the old Aesop tale of the fox and the grapes. After trying unsuccessfully to get the grapes, the fox convinces himself that the grapes are sour and he wouldn't have wanted them anyway.
Of course, it's always possible the author in question wasn't thinking about it and worded it the wrong way. Maybe she was thinking 'I'd rather be happy and write what I want than to force myself to write what the bestsellers write'. I'd applaud that.
If you're like 99% of the writers out there, you're writing and publishing and dreaming of loads of sales. (The other 1% already have the loads of sales and they're worrying about dropping into the 99%.) Who doesn't want to be a bestseller? Would any of us turn it down if it happened? I know I wouldn't. However, I don't think we're holding our breaths either. I like breathing.
Write what you write. The sales will come. Or they won't. Keep writing anyway. It's the only path to happiness when it comes to writing - actually writing.
Sometimes, when the sales are non-existent and I ask myself why I keep doing this, I need to remind myself happiness comes from writing. Selling would make me ecstatic, of course, but if I don't write, I can't sell.
And if I ever someday become a bestselling author, I'm pretty sure that'll make me happy, too. Aside from the monetary side, loads more people will be reading what I've written. How can you not be happy about that?
*Umm, yeah, that was the saddest part of all. =o(