Take What You Want, Leave All the Rest Behind

On Twitter, Laura Roeder recently pointed to a short blog post from Derek Sivers, founder and former president of CD Baby. Sivers says that books (or articles) are like mirrors: They reveal more about you than they do about the author:

After I interviewed Tim Ferriss, some people said, “But he comes across too cocky.”

After I interviewed Amber Rubarth, some people said, “But she’s only successful because she’s so pretty.”

After I interviewed Tom Williams, some people said, “But there’s some controversy about his new company.”

I hear that as, “Now that I’ve proven they’re not perfect, I don’t have to apply any of the lessons from their story.”

But that’s missing the point that those articles are really about you, not them…All that really matters is what you do with the ideas there. Apply them to your own life in your own way. It was never about them. It’s about you.

I agree.

I’ve heard too many people lately willing to discard the good that somebody has produced just because they disagree with other parts of that person’s life. Is Michael Jackson’s brilliant work invalidated simply because of allegations that he was a pedophile? Is the power of Dave Ramsey’s debt-reduction techniques any less just because his religious views are different than yours? Is Herge’s Tintin any less wonderful because he was a Nazi sympathizer?

It’s possible to hate the artist but love the art.

Writing for Money: The New Way and the Old

It was late in 2006 that I realized I could potentially make a living writing for the web. It wasn’t until a few months later that I knew that this was true. I earned a modest (but decent) income at the box factory. But starting in February 2007, my web income began to equal my income from my real job for brief periods of time. Then in April 2007, I earned more from my websites than from selling boxes. And from July 2007 on, I’ve been a professional blogger.

Although I’m making good money from my writing, there are many ups and downs. But even the lows are higher than I could have imagined. On November 25th [2006], I made $29.29 in web income. That is the last day my earnings dipped below $30. My best day was last Tuesday: I made $169.90.

Over at 2blowhards (still one of my favorite blogs), Michael writes:

Planning on getting rich writing sci-fi or fantasy novels? Think again. Tobias Buckell writes that the average advance for a first sci-fi or fantasy novel is $5000. Five years and five novels later, the average author is pulling in around $13,000 per novel.

I used to want to get rich off writing sci-fi or fantasy. Then I decided I just wanted to get rich off writing books — I didn’t care what kind. More and more, it’s clear that I may never publish a book (at least not in the traditional sense)! I’m already making twice what a sci-fi novelist makes, and I have complete control of my content. There’s little motivation for me to change directions at the moment.

Some people — and perhaps you’re one of them — look upon web income with disdain. “You’re not making money from writing,” is a common observation. “You’re making money from advertising.” I can understand this delineation, but it’s not one that I make.

I am writing, and publishing that writing, and it’s making me money. I don’t feel guilty about it. I don’t feel as if I’m compromising anything. Did I ever dream I’d make a living writing about personal finance? Nope. But now I can’t imagine anything else I’d rather be doing.

Remember: The core of this article is more than two years old. Numbers stated do not represent current earnings.