There is a debate that anyone who has spent a lot of time thinking about being a writer has come across. I am going to go out on a ledge and say that anyone who has thought about being an artist has come up against this debate.
It can be cold to write about money. They don’t write for money. They don’t write to other people. They work quickly with shocking speed. Being paid what they’re worth is the most important thing, as they have the bottom line in mind at all times.
The must side is very earnest. Writers insist that they write because they have no choice. It is either write or die. Having readers is not important. Money makes them feel less must-ness.
I have been writing since the sixth grade. We are talking about a habit that has been going on for more than thirty-five years. Look at it. You don’t have to make a decision.
Yes. I would do that. I went to battle with my high school so that I could take a creative writing class my senior year instead of the AP world literature class. I have a masters degree in creative writing.
Guess what? Being paid for my work is something I enjoy. There is something wrong with learning how to treat writing like a business.
I have. I wrote a lot before I was paid for it. I paid a lot to learn how to do it better.
Okay, okay. I am. It is. I am a professional writer who gets paid for my work. Readers matter to me in some way. I get excited about them. When the accusation comes, it rolls off.
It isn’t leveled at me very often. I admit that I am not very sensitive to accusations when they come my way. If someone screamed, “Hey, you’re really tall at me or my hair is brown”, I wouldn’t care.
If you professionalize writing to the point that there is no room for art or generosity, will I feel bad for you? I will do that. You can celebrate earning a pay check for your writing. Almost all of the time, the must-ers aren’t getting a pay check. They feel better about themselves because of the must argument. Alright, okay. You don’t have to let it bring you down.
You have the ability to write. You have the permission to never think about being paid for your work in your entire life. If you take a public stance against ever writing something for money, will you look like a tool? Yes.
If you get up on your high horse about not caring about being paid for writing, will you look like a tool? Yes, yes. Will I feel bad for you if you never get the chance to turn your art into a career? I think you could be a professional writer if you are miserable in your career.
You do that. Give other people space to do what they want.