Over the years, I’ve read various perspectives about this writing gig of ours. Often differing opinions about this wonderfully creative world we artists strive to exist in.
On the one hand, there are the die-hard purists who believe the very second one accepts money for writing something said writer has just become a sell-out.
By accepting money for their blessed art they have besmirched the sacred sanctity of the creative muse with the all mighty dollar.
These talented and, of course, not so gifted writers, believe one should remain destitute and impoverished and that this is the only way to hold steadfast to the belief they are the only true artists.
I’d venture a guess most of them are still living with their parents and hunkered down in the depths of mom and dad’s basement bemoaning how cruel life is while they hammer out their latest manifesto.
A work which in all likelihood no one will ever get the opportunity, nor wish to read.
But they continue to be true to the fact that it’s the passion which makes them a true artist because they never let their vision become tainted by money.
Then there’s a completely different group who’ve taken up writing as a hobby. They don’t care about the money, and they certainly don’t care about all this starving artist mumbo jumbo.
These folks enjoy turning a phrase or two because it soothes them and helps them find inner peace after enduring a nine to five grind. It’s something they do when they have a few minutes to spare. A few stolen moments of solace from the JOB, the chores, and just life in general.
A lot of them find comfort in committing their thoughts to paper. For them, it’s therapeutic; helps them level-set their thoughts and get them ready and in their happy place. And they need to find that happy place just so they can handle the grueling mindblowing grind of a week of fire drills at their office.
And there’s us.
The freelancers, the novelists, the bloggers, the journalists, and magazine writers.
Though we all share a commonality of writing to try and make a living, we all have things in common with the starving artists and the hobbyists.
What’s really interesting about all three groups of writers is that we all pretty much started the same way.
First, we discovered a passion for writing and simply fell in love with the holistic idea of creating something from the recesses of our mind.
Shortly after, we realized how good it felt most times when we wrote something, so we started doing it more, just to free our minds from all the hassle and worry.
Then there was that pivotal moment when some of us realized our writing could possibly make us some loose change. And like a hungry shark in a feeding frenzy, we decided to snatch up more of that loose change, and more and more.
We learned to write junk, and get paid a little, write better quality, get paid more.
And yes, at first, a lot of us “professional” writers spent a little time in our “parent’s basement” living hand to mouth, and paycheck to paycheck at the many side-hustles we were forced to endure.
Many of us understood the true worth of our talents and learned how to market that talent into more money. For our writing, many of us get paid pretty darned good, and on the opposite side of the coin, many of us don’t.
But just because some of us aren’t making the money we want doesn’t mean we’re terrible writers. The rate of pay isn’t always the determining factor when it comes to our talent.
What I mean by that is persistence and luck are both huge factors in how much money we make regardless of whether we’re quality or piss poor writers.
Regardless of what stage in this professional writing gig of ours we currently are, we write expecting to get paid for our work.
In essence, our one single mantra is: we do the work, somebody forks over the dough.
Pretty simple, eh? Well, the premise is, but doing the work on a consistent and timely basis? Ah, not so much.
Let’s take a breath for a moment and focus on the one thing we all have in common. Whether we’re a starving purist, a writing hobbyist, or a paid professional, we all have to do the one thing which continues to keep each of us in our specific category.
For the purists among us sitting in their basement eating meals cooked by their mothers, curling up a nose at the thought of receiving compensation for their artistic endeavors, they still have to do the work.
And the weekend warriors curled up on their couches after a grinding week at the JOB, penning something lighthearted which when finished it’s read, enjoyed and passed around to friends and neighbors, they as well, still have to do the work.
For the rest of us who nash our teeth as we attempt to keep food on our table with all of our side hustles, we continue to write. Each of us hoping someday to grow our career. Or for those who make a living only from writing, we still have to do the work.
See, each of these categories of writers has something in common.
A fundamental core from which every single written word springs. As much as we are different and unique, we’re all pretty much the same when it comes down to it.
Whether it’s for love of the craft, a hobby, or for that nasty old thing known as money, we still have to do the work.
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