Prostitution and Writing
“First you do it for the love of it,
Then you do it for the approval,
And finally you do it for the money.”
I’m not entirely sure who is credited with having said that but a friend of mine once gave me a small sign to hang on the wall that said it. She told me that it was to keep me focused on why I write. She was a fellow writer and I was just beginning my career as a newspaper reporter. She was already jaded in that way that a newspaper reporter can sometimes get because they feel they are just writing to keep the lights on. It made me sad.
I have been writing for over 30 years now and I am pleased to announce that I never got to be like my friend. I kept focused and I tried to take some time every day to remember why I write. Sure I paid the bills with my writing and there were times over the years when I would get resentful because I didn’t seem to have time to do “my writing” but, in the end I never became jaded. I still enjoy writing.
It is really easy to get caught up in the money making aspect of writing. I have had some very good projects over the years and I have to admit the money feels really good. I am sometimes tempted to cash in on that and over extend myself – take on an extra job or two – but then I stop and I think about it and I realize that by over extending my work will suffer and, frankly, the money isn’t worth it.
You will get lots of advice over the years. Folks will tell you to write for the reader, write for your “audience”, focus on writing for a friend, write for the market… (publishers love that one) but there really is only one person you should be writing for…you. If you like what you have done, chances are there is an audience out there for it…count on that and write what interests you. If you are passionate about your work others will be too and you know what, you will also be a better writer. So don’t do it for the money and become a writing prostitute…do it for the love of it and be the writer you should be. The money will come and when it does, it will be that much sweeter.
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