Science says that after a point, more money doesn’t increase quality of life. At the time that paper was published the point was $90000 per annum, what that is now after inflation I have no idea. While quality of life can affect happiness, it isn’t happiness.
Everybody calculates happiness differently. For me the calculus is pretty simple. I want to minimise doing things that I don’t enjoy and maximize doing the things I like. I know, I’m a genius. One of the things I don’t enjoy is working shifts at my crappy night job. The thing I enjoy most is writing. If I could get paid for writing it would solve all my problems.
In his 2012 commencement speech, Neil Gaiman described imagining his career goals as a mountain, where he could look at any opportunity and determine whether or not is was going towards the peak or away from it. In some cases, it’s hard to tell which way you’re going, but I do like the thought experiment as a framework. In my personal circumstance the peak of the mountain is writing fiction full time, a peak which it may not be possible to climb.
In an interview on the 7 Figure Small podcast, Joanna Penn spoke about her income. Her income is broken down into many components, as she writes both fiction and nonfiction, runs a podcast, has a patreon, and a blog where affiliate links bring in income. Seth Godin talks about how his books have a core audience, but it is courses and other related sources that bring in his income.
There are not many writers in the world who are able to earn their money from solely writing, most writers have to supplement their income; or you could look at it as a positive and say that they are diversifying their income sources. Having diverse income streams strengthens the finances to a blow in any sector, and I’m all for that. I have thought about running affiliate links when I do reviews and perhaps even monetising the blog. Financially it might be a good idea, but I fear that the quest for dollars will effect what I write about. For now, that is something I’m not willing to compromise on.
As opposed to my 2 year dabble into freelancing, I’m not trying to build my current writing empire while trying to feed myself with it. I was freelancing because I had no money and no job, and starting a business with no seed money and needing it to support you is a quick path to making bad decisions. Right now crappy night job pays the bills, it may not be fulfilling work, but it does pay regular. Because of that I am able to make decisions for the longer term, but it does wear on me. I want to transition to full time writing as quickly as possible, but on the other hand I don’t want to jump head long into it and break at the first hiccup on the road.
For now, I have the luxury of being able to put creative control in front of naked capitalism, so I don’t have to flog mattresses and underpants on the podcast, or write reviews about shows I’m not interested in because they might result in a few sales. You cannot make an omelette without breaking a few eggs, and I expect that at some point I will have to break a few.