Guest Blog: Writing for Income vs Writing for Pleasure

The first blog entry of the year is by my good friend Kenneth Cuccia. For the past ten years, Kenny has been both a sounding board and source of inspiration to me.  As a Middle School classroom teacher of writing, he has a hard-won wisdom from practicing and teaching.

Writing for Income vs Writing for Pleasure

Writing for income is time well spent.
Writing for pleasure is time well spent.

Makes sense, right?

To some, sure. To others, maybe not so much.

Those coming to this blog likely know the difference between the two. In reality, however, there is something that merges the two. That would be writing for value. Think of it like this:

Writing For Income

Writing for income has a dollar amount tied to it. That’s valuable. But only on the surface, right? Numerous authors have bowed to the almighty dollar producing a litany of articles and books simply to harbor a dollar amount which may or not reflect what that author is worth.

J.K. Rowling has earned millions for her Harry Potter series, but my guess is the publishing execs extracted their take. And, certainly, Rowling has and will earn tons more. Yet, she really only gets what she’s owed on the surface—not necessarily what she deserves.

The late great C.S. Lewis is another. So much has been earned after the fact in his case. Not necessarily by him or his estate. That said, he certainly did not keep his writing to himself. He put it out there and got something out of it! Never was he concerned about what he might lose from those who would profit from his writings after the fact. He saw the value in being a published author.

Writing For Pleasure

Writing for pleasure may or may not have a dollar amount tied to it, but is inherently valuable. It goes beneath the surface. Consider for a moment the psychological value. Writing can be therapeutic. For instance, loads of psychologists and psychiatrists alike prescribe the exercise of keeping a diary or journaling purely for its therapeutic value.

There’s no money being made there and yet if one could flitter about like a fly on the walls of people’s lives they would no doubt find treasure troves of wonderful witticisms or catchy slogans that simply sit in someone’s diary or journal for only God and them to enjoy. Those looking to make progress see the value in this exercise and delve into it—because they see the value.

Writing For Value

What about when you were in grade school or middle school? Didn’t you have that annoying English teacher that would make you write all the time. Sure, some struggled and bogged down during exercises like that, but you flourished. This was exactly what you needed to unleash your creative juices. Not only did you come up with some really good stuff (that you immediately shared with your teacher) but you felt better.

Whether you realized it or not, you were seeing the value in writing for pleasure—not accounting for whether or not you’d get paid for it (even though you deserved to!).

Writers must see the importance of both writing for income and writing for pleasure. One has the potential to earn money—maybe lots of money. One may not earn money directly, but has inherent value—which makes it all the more important.


Examples of Writing for Income

Find an Outlet
Find a Job
Get Hired: Writer for Hire
Start a Blog
Start a Vlog
Post on Social Media: Get Exposure

Examples of Writing for Pleasure

Creative Outlet
Explore Ideas

Both Kinds of Writing Have Value

Both of these endeavors have value in terms of what you get for time spent. I’ll offer my own experience in guest writing for this blog. I’m reminded how much I love writing. I don’t write enough. I’ve never written to be published. I mean, I’ve written posts on Facebook and Twitter that I think to be a version of self-publishing. But, the creative energy spent to write this blog has proved inherently valuable and I’m even more inspired to become a published writer.

So, remember:
Writing for income is time well spent.
Writing for pleasure is time well spent.

Both have value.

About Gordon DeLand

Author, speaker, ex-Navy and ex-preacher and ex-several other things. Grew up in the wilderness of Madison County, New York State. Officially retired, currently residing near Dallas TX but have lived on all four coasts and Hawaii. Maybe someday I'll retire back to New York. But not yet.
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