I just read a very thoughtful post, a great post, so forgive my rant that’s not directed against that post I swear. But since I seem to have nothing else to say tonight and this is one of my favorite rants, let me say this:
As a writer, you deserve to get paid.
If you dedicate your life to this writing craft, if you achieve a competitive amount of mastery, and if you produce a product that entertains a number of people, you deserve to get paid. You may have to get creative to be paid, you may have to do some gruntwork to get paid, but you deserve to get paid. You may have to twist things a bit to get paid, but them’s the breaks.
I have no idea why, but people get so wishy-washy when it comes to art and money. You know, there is talent and genius in every single career. Donald Trump, if he were a musician, would be Mozart. He would be a genius. He is a talented genius at making deals. He’s turned making deals into an art form. Does anyone say he doesn’t deserve to be paid? Do people say those who want to go into real estate shouldn’t quit their day job? No.
All art is some sort of trade. You practice, you study, you practice, you learn, you practice, and when you achieve the skill needed to make some money, you share what you’ve practiced and you get paid for it.
Sure, there’s inspiration, but let me tell you, there’s inspiration in every single career. You’ve seen movies about inspired teachers, politicians, lawyers, detectives. Art is just another skill, another career. Just because a large number of people derive enjoyment from your art does not mean you work any less. Just because people pay you for what you produce does not make your work any less artistic.
You wouldn’t believe how inspired I can get when we have no money, LOL. I guarantee you it doesn’t lower the quality of my work one bit. I will say that I have spent one or two extra weeks eating potatoes and not eating Thanksgiving dinner because I wanted to make my story better before turning it in, but ... what can you do?
There is no woo-woo-ahhrteeestry. That’s a myth which we may use to our advantage to help us get paid a little more from those who believe in it. That’s a myth we may keep as a trade secret, but it is a myth all the same.
It’s work and you deserve to be paid for that work.
When I was a young musician, I was "socially guided" into certain standards. None of us joined the musician’s union (not sure it does much for classical musicians around here), but we watched each other’s back and maintained certain standards with the same spirit. I could not play for free without feeling guilty for what I am doing to my fellow musician’s abilities to make a living. Not to mention if I’m up there playing, I’m going to play well enough that I deserve to get paid.
So here’s my idea for our world. If every writer who says "don’t quit your day job" or "it’s nearly impossible to make a living at this" starts saying "writers deserve to make a living from their craft" three times, maybe we can start moving our energies in a more profitable direction for ourselves.
Even if you don’t believe in woo-woo-universal-energy, you can believe that focusing on the latter will help us figure out the how, and focusing on the former will end up being a self-fulfilling prophecy.
If we writers don’t believe in the value of our art, who else will?