I follow a Twitter account that posts quotes from writers every day. Often I see something like, If you’re in it for the money, you’re in the wrong business. Or, don’t be in it for the money. Or, you shouldn’t be doing this for money. I forget the exact wording and I’m too lazy to dig them up, but the words come from well-respected writers.
It’s not a business where it’s easy to make good money, or even a reasonable living. So if your goal alone is to become wealthy, you’d be better off doing almost anything else. In that respect, I agree with the words.
Where I disagree is with the idea that you should be doing this purely for the love of writing. If you’re a hobbyist, writing whenever you feel inspired or bored, then fine. Go ahead and write just for the love. Submit to non-paying markets. Or be like Salinger and don’t submit at all. (Keep in mind this was after Catcher in the Rye pumped out royalties).
That’s not to say that you shouldn’t love writing. You should absolutely love it. You should love it so much that you want to do it for a living. And to do it for a living you need to get paid. There’s no shame in seeking out as much money as possible for your work. Those who love writing the most should want to be paid as much as possible so that they can continue to do it. There’s a quote, even if it is a little clunky.
There’s this nonsense idea that a real artist does it for the art and not for the money. That’s not true. A real artist is a professional who is able to devote as much time as possible to their work. Why waste hours working for someone else? Money offers freedom and the ability to write even more.
Get paid. Go write.