Stephen King has a famous quote that I suspect a lot of writers hold dear as a milestone to hit in their careers. Mister King said:
“If you wrote something for which someone sent you a check, if you cashed the check and it didn’t bounce, and if you then paid the light bill with the money, I consider you talented.”
Of course, the whole notion of getting and cashing a check is a little novel now, but I know that I, for one, always kept that quote in the back of my mind, even when I forgot the detail about the light bill. “If I ever get paid enough to pay a bill, Stephen King thinks I could make it.”
Well, I have a good news/bad news scenario about this: While my power company would scoff if I tried to pay them what I got, I did just receive my first cash payment for my writing. Like, ever.
And what was the source of this sudden windfall, you may ask? A royalty payment from the anthology A Dark Spring, featuring my novella, Early Retirement. If you haven’t bought A Dark Spring (published by Tall Tree Publishing) yet, by all means click this link to buy it, and read some great thriller stories!
At some point, unless they’re really lucky, the vast majority of writers realize they’re never going to make any money writing. Writing fiction, anyway. Personally, after a particularly busy year that found me submitting a novel and multiple short stories dozens of times to the tune of zero finding a home anywhere, I had to ask myself—why am I doing this? Why am I putting myself through this, the hours of research, the writing, revising, re-writing, editing, all for nothing? After a few days deliberation, I realized that I did it because I liked doing it. Writing is by far the most miserable thing people can do that is still enjoyable. So I decided to scale back the writing a little, to give myself free time to pursue other hobbies (mostly photography), but I keep writing as much as I can, and you can rest assured there are plenty of works in progress at all times.
But still…I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t at least a little proud of my pittance. I mean, think about it: I took an idea out of the clear blue sky, thought about it, forced it out my brainhole and through my fingers to the computer, and someone gave me money for it. That’s INSANE! Do these people know what they’re doing?
As far as that quote from Stephen King, maybe if I ask nicely I can get him to amend that whole “light bill” thing. Times are tough, after all. Does it count if it’s enough to cover Netflix for a month?