Hobby Writing vs Paid Writing

#1
RRL primarily consists of two types of writers.

Hobby writers who write for themselves and think of their story as a fun but unimportant aspect of their lives.

Paid writers who write for a paycheque in the form of patreon and other donation sources. They consider writing a source of income that they need to pay the bills.

Just reading the above, you should be able to guess my opinion of hobby writers. They are unstable writers who are subject to whimsical mood swings. They will stop and start writing based on whether a new game has come out or whether a mean comment put them in a bad mood. And there is really nothing wrong with that, but they're the ones most likely to stop writing a series at 100 chapters in.

Ultimately, I, as a reader FAR prefer that the writer monetizes their writing in some way. Put a paygate on a couple of chapters. Give me bonus incentives if I pay you a monthly amount of money.

The most reliable series on RRL are the most heavily monetized series. "The Wondering Inn" and "The Iron Teeth" are both like this and they pretty much never miss a deadline.

The point I'm trying to spread here is that monetizing your chapters is a good thing. At least I know I have some hooks in people who treat writing as a job rather than a hobby. Something like 90% of hobby series are dropped halfway through.

RE: Hobby Writing vs Paid Writing

#2
Monetizing writing can definitely be a good thing, both for the author and for the readers (imo.)

Though, that said, a hobbyist could try to monetize their writing and, for some people, that still won't increase their chances of continuing their work. It's not just hobbyists that quit either. A lot of aspiring authors who do want to make a living by writing often quit for the same reasons. The newer they are, the more likely it is to happen.

Sometimes it's because of flaws in their series that they, themselves, can't pinpoint. Sometimes it's simply because they lost interest or their work wasn't "speaking to them" anymore. That's one of the problems with art--it can just "stop working." A lot of the times the creator won't be able to pinpoint why. Usually the solution is simple but some people get so depressed about it that they fail to see it.

A lot of new authors, regardless of their aspirations, aren't at all prepared for criticism or the negative feedback that a public environment can provide. Many of them don't realize it will potentially be worse if/when they actually publish. Places like RRL are good training grounds for new authors to learn and to grow a thicker skin, but unfortunately a lot of people never will. The people who are overly hurt by criticism are usually the people who think people like Anne Rice, Stephan King, and so on get zero poor reviews--I tend to shove the bad reviews given to famous authors directly in the newbie author's face to give them a wake-up call.

No one is impervious to bad reviews or flaming.

Part of it, I think, is because many authors see gaining readers as a "convincing them to read" process instead of a disqualification process. The reality of writing is that an author should want everyone who isn't their target demographic to go away. Poor feedback often comes from attracting or convincing the wrong readers--either because they dislike your genre (it happens) or because their gender or age group is off target.

RE: Hobby Writing vs Paid Writing

#3
Earning money doesn't nessarily mean a writer is going to continue their project. It's a great incentive, however that doesn't keep them from quitting or abandoning their work. And while earning money is a great motivator, it's not enough.

And I'm sure there are a lot of writers who want to make money but it's often advised that a writer doesn't focus on that at the start. Why, because you need an audience. For a writer to even begin to think about it, they need to have an audience that's willing to pay them. If you don't have an audience on whatever platform you are write on, setting up a patron account is a good way to loose motivation when you're basically doing it for nothing. A writer should be more worried about improving their craft to build an audience first and then ask for money.

However, I don't think the issue is so much that a lot of writers need an incentive on here, most of them need to learn how to commit to a project, and to do that, they need to build discipline. That's what separate writers a lot more.

A lot of writer on this site are novice writers. People who get the idea that they can post web-fiction and often times get far too ahead of themselves. They don't know a lot about writing and storytelling. They think everyone will love their work no matter what and if they don't see the success they envisioned, they stop. They've not developed a writing process that gives them results. And on top of all of this, many don't allow themselves to learn the first lesson you should learn as a writer and that's finish what you start.

And from what I seen in my travels, that's probably the most common problem aspiring writers seem to have, finishing what they start. And with web fiction, it attracts a lot of aspiring writings. Many just get stuck in a cycle of abandoning and starting something new only to abandon it again. That's kind of why I'm a supporter for writers to finish a draft of a story first. edited it , and then post online rather than write as they go because not every writer can do that. It's a good way to become frustrated by your writing if you aren't writing in the best method for you.

RE: Hobby Writing vs Paid Writing

#4
Okay, since the author aspect of it already seems to be covered quite in depth,
Let me talk about the 'paid'/ monetized part of it.

In general, yes, If you get paid for doing something, that is much more incentive to continue doing it, however,

What about the readers?
The cost of reading web novels, which is basically free, is both an advantage and disadvantage.
They are more inclined to do it if it's free.

Take something other than novels for an example.

Free To Play games, Yes, there's tonnes of them. At least in the mobile market
And Fee To Play games, there's quite a lot of them too, Like EA's Star wars battlefront 2.
Just because it cost you money to buy it doesn't mean it is definitely going to be any good, refer again to EA and their practices.

And compare it to Warframe or other games like, Fortnite: Battle Royale, which are free to play but are still really good.

And that is when you realize that how much it initially cost you, while it used to be a fine indicator of quality a while ago. Isn't that good a qualifier anymore.

Free things can be good and paid things can be quite rubbish ( i'm looking at you, EA, way to contaminate the entire market with your predatory practices )

Also, putting something behind a paywall can and will deter many people from reading. Since maybe they can't afford to pay or maybe don't want to or multiple reasons.
That can take away from your initial reader base which could have otherwise provided you with crucial feedback early on.

So while i did consider to monetize my novel, i won't do that till much, much later. And even then all chapters would be released to public, just a little bit late.

And i would still call myself a 'hobbyist' rather than a 'professional' because something about 'hobbyist' is so much more pure than a professional.
Take the chinese web novel scene as a reference. All the authors there are 'professional' but their novels are incredibly repetitive So much so that you can literally read the title of the chapter and understand perfectly what all is going to happen in that chapter. Because they care more about the money they're going to get from writing more words, rather than presenting with a good story.

'hobbyists' compared to that, at least in my opinion, care much more about how the story/ novel actually is. They want to write a good story because their livelihood isn't tied to writing an arbitrary number of words.
And i feel that is what the spirit/ motivation behind writing should be.

RE: Hobby Writing vs Paid Writing

#5
I am a hobbyist writer with a full-time job and guilty of almost all the things you describe, but I would almost say that doesn't matter. Sometimes, getting paid for something becomes an issue in and of itself, as much of an issue as a lack of motivation would be. You have too much motivation but don't know where to put it, or you get stuck on your story and you can't put it anywhere.

Look at the youtuber Smii7y, for example. At one point he was stuck for a while in creative deadlock, and the solution to himself was to remove the schedule he had for his videos, and that in itself helped him to keep steady releases. So you can see that having the pressure on you to release can be as much of a hindrance as a help. It all depends on who you are and what motivates you, and that's something you can't tell until after you are motivated or not.

One more thing I want to say is that I agree with almost all your points about me. There is one key exception. You say hobby writers who "think of their story as a fun but unimportant aspect of their lives". I most vehemently do not. I have spent two years of my life with my story, as little as it may have progressed and as small a portion of my time as I may spend actually writing it, and it is as much a part of me as my innermost thoughts at this point. In many cases, the two are one and the same.

RE: Hobby Writing vs Paid Writing

#6
I think everyone, at some point, has fallen into both camps.  Very rarely, it seems, does someone set out on a creative endeavor expecting to monetize it.  Sure, it would be nice to make a little money for the time spent, but that's not usually what drives someone to produce a creative, original work.

Over the course of the craft, the idea of monetization becomes more realistic.  People may ask where they can donate, or they see Patreon banners and realize 'wait, people will pay me for this?'...and the idea takes off.  At some point, there's a transition from 'creative hobbyist' to 'marketing king/queen'.  But I would be surprised if ANY of the latter ever thought their early world was an unimportant aspect of their lives.

I would say most authors are all on the same tracks...some just farther down the line than others.
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