The Tao of the writer
More and more in the writing community, I’m hearing these whispers about the essence of writing and being paid to do so or not. Like it’s somehow unethical, to desire to write and desire to be paid for it. Here’s what’s on my mind about it all.
I am a writer, i love to write. But, i didn’t always know this.
I have memories of doing a little creative writing as a teen, just privately for myself with short stories and memoir type stuff. Then life and the gauntlet that is ‘adulting’(please don’t give me grief for the use of that ‘word’, i still say ‘woke’ here and there too — as much as it’s been rinsed and repeated), took the floor and my writing disappeared into the abyss.
Fast forward about twenty five years to just over two years ago, when i was fast approaching forty years of my evolving. I looked at myself in the eyes and thought, ‘come back to me’. Some of you a little further along (or less) in your rooting, may recognise a similar stage in your being. You just feel some kind of way, like the lights are on but nobody is home.
I was physically there functioning, but i felt like my soul was elsewhere. She was wandering in the wilderness dying a slow death, trying to find her way home. I decided, it was time to reclaim her. I didn’t fully understand back then when people would say ‘i need to find myself’, but now i understand. I needed to find my authentic soul power — wake me up and bring me back to life.
Stuck in a dead end job for fourteen plus years at the time, i asked myself what do i want to do? The answer came like a bolt of lightning, ‘i want to write’. Hard as it is to fathom today, i had seemingly lost all memory of my love of words and writing until that very moment. Maybe I’m just a drama queen, but that was exactly how it came to me like some sort of epiphany i guess.
I bought a notebook, and just wrote down my thoughts — i wrote two hundred or so words about what i was going to do with my life and titled it ‘So, now what?’ By the way, my third post here on Medium has the same title — different content but similar theme. I figured well it ain’t broke, and I’m contemplating using it as the title of a monthly running series. A few months later i started a blog called ‘imnotsleeping76' over on Tumblr, and those thoughts became my first blog post.
Having been writing publicly now for just over two years on my blog, for six months over on Instagram and approaching three weeks here on Medium — i have never been paid for it.
Would i like to be paid for my writing? Yes, yes and yes again.
I get the sense that either the writing community, the reader, society or all of the above, expect that if you love to write then you should do it for free forever. You should just be happy to be read, you should never speak of being paid for it. Seemingly, a desire to be paid for your writing — somehow displays a lack of love for your craft. An either or scenario, which i for one think is bullshit.
Writers create art with spilled ink. It may not always be deemed classic or to everyone’s taste — but it’s art in my opinion. From a sea of millions of words across thousands of languages, to take the time to pick a word like you pick fruit — feeling for the right texture, tone, and look to fit the context of what you are trying to express. This is art.
Not every writers motivation for writing is the same, but so what. If someone writes something, puts it out in the world and shit loads of people consume and appreciate it — then they should be paid for it in my opinion. Why is there any resistance at all against this concept? Why are writers held hostage by judgement for desiring to make money? There should be no shame in wanting to be paid for what we do, it’s not dirty money if you created something and therefore earned it. It’s only so called ‘blood money’ if it’s blatantly not your content and so plagiarised. Ugh.
I applaud Medium for their Partner Program, enabling writers with an opportunity to be paid. Although i don’t yet fully understand the way Medium works out how much any given piece has earned. I will clap and highlight generously when i come across something that resonates, or is just enjoyable — to show appreciation and to help the creator earn some money. As a newbie around here, i don’t know how this platform will pan out for me personally. Or how any other platform will assist me to enhance my writing and to make a living, but i’m enjoying the adventure.
What I do know is that, i will continue to write until i no longer desire to write.
Thank you for reading.
Photo credit: Selfie of me trying to write my arse off