The other day, after listening to The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield (my 4th time listening to it, by the way) my husband and I The War of Artstarted discussing what it meant to be passionate about your art. To really love what you do—what you create—versus simply working for money. He posed this question:

What if someone offered to pay one million dollars for your shiny new unpublished novel, but in selling your novel to them, they would own all the rights and only they would ever read it?

No one else—Nunca! Ever!

One Million Dollar BillMy initial response was, “Fine with me. I’ll gladly take the money and write another novel.”

Then I thought about it. I write educational books for hire all the time. I enjoy writing them, but there’s no question I write them for money… although, I make nowhere close to a million dollars. Too bad.

But, what about my novel?

I’m not the type of writer who can whip out a novel every few months. WHEELS, my first novel, took me several years to write. What if after all that work, all the time spent getting to know my characters, their world, their deepest desires—not to mention all the daydreams I’d had of people actually reading my story—what if after all that, only one person ever read it?

I can’t honestly say the money wouldn’t be enticing—very enticing—but I know if I took the deal, a large part of me would be sad. It would feel as if I’d been silenced. Like a chunk of me would remain hidden from the world for the rest of my life. In fact, the more I thought about my husband’s question, the more empty, ugly and unappealing the offer became.


What would you do?


  1. Jevon says:

    I guess in boils down to why you write, and your financial position. If you wrote the novel just to practice, then sure, take the money. If you really want others to read it, and you’re already financially secure, then the offer would be less tempting.

    But I have a novel idea I plan to work on in the next couple of years and I would reject any offer like that since I love the story so much and I want to see if others will feel the same way.


  2. CF Winn says:

    I can tell you with confidence that you are killing me. I would love to see that kind of money, but I wrote SUKI to leave behind…to be read…writing it was on my BUCKET LIST…but what that money could do for me…why didn’t you just beat me over my head with a bat?? It would have the same effect… 😉


  3. Lorijo Metz says:

    Understandably. The question is, how much suffering is it worth to suffer for our art? When it comes to family, food and shelter… I’d probably–no definitely–take the money. I hope things look up for you soon.


  4. Scott Wild says:

    Lorijo, the affects your books have on your readers are worth more than a million dollars…and that’s PER PERSON. From Floridius Bloom to Wheels…think of the imaginations you have stirred and awoken. So here’s the deal…if you are ever offered that amount of money for that exact deal…call me and I’m going to pull every string I have to offer you DOUBLE that amount to refuse the offer. This is a FANTASTIC questions and really got me thinking. It would be very tempting, but then I glanced at the smiling kids in your photo gallery in the right sidebar and came up with this response. Keep bringing the good stuff. 😉


    • Lorijo Metz says:

      Oh Scott – T-Metz is very excited by your offer to double my money. I believe he’s trying to find a way to offer me a million dollars just so he can take you up on the deal! LOL!!! Thank you for your kind words and thoughts. I would miss the smiling kids as well. I would also miss the good reviews, as well as the bad ones… sometimes they’re equally fun to read!


  5. Charles Harvey says:

    Well it would be horrible if you could never write another book. But that’s not the dilemma you present. So maybe take the money and live your dream and use your time to write other books. But it’s also akin to one losing their first born. There will always be an ache in the heart.


  6. Christina Carson says:

    My experience – there is never an act without consequences beyond those that are immediately apparent. That is why my only choice would be to go with what my gut knows is right. Then the universe is on your side, and to me that is more important than the concerns of every day life. May I add this is said from a situation where money is very much an issue. One writes for money or for the love of the art. They are not mutually exclusive, but they have very different impacts on our lives.


  7. Lottie Nevin says:

    Lorijo, how weird, I got the message in my in-box that you had a new post but then it said that I wasn’t following you! How absurd!

    Re writing a book, what a very difficult question to answer. It’s the same with art. Do you paint or make work that you know people will like and buy, or do you make the work that you really want to make and possibly never sell it?


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