July 9th, 2007

Jin Shei Cover from sgreer

For love or money

Back on my home newsgroup, rasfc, there's another discussion sparked by a fly-by "editor" offering to make us immortal by virtue of mere "exposure" in her journal. A follow-up message from a fellow who was apparently published by this outfit berated us all in terse if misspelled prose for being such boors as to complain about the fact that no pay would be forthcoming for our contributions to the original journal, whereupon one of our semi-regular folks came back with a comment that he kind of half-agreed with the second poster, in that...

>Writing *should* come from the joy of it, and not be focused on dollar signs.


Whereupon I responded with this:

Oy. Let me throw a monkey wrench into that spinning wheel, for just a
moment.

*Of course* writing should be done for the joy of it. Good God, who
would do it otherwise? Why put up with the frustrations and the blood
and sweat and tears of this game unless you really seriously honestly
love what you do? Before I ever got to smelling distance of being
published, I wrote - I wrote, because that is what I loved to do, I
loved the scent of fresh words in the morning and the nightingale song
of sleepy words at night. Words were better friends to me in some of
my more socially awkward phases of life than people could ever have
been - they were ever patiend, kind, understanding, and always there
when I needed them.

I love writing. I love the fear and the fury of it, the drama and the
laughter, the ring of swords and the crackle of winter fires within
stories and poems and myths and legends and tales. I love creating a
world, I love opening the doors of this newly minted world to
characters who come creeping or leaping or striding or dancing in to
explore it and have adventures in it and live their lives in it and
sing about it and cry about it and cling to it and to one another when
the storms come. I love it. I *LOVE* it. I cannot imagine myself not
doing it, not ever.

HOWEVER - having said that - this love is a bonus for me, right now,
because those words are working for me, they pay my bills, they light
my house and feed my cats and allow me to sit here writing this note
on the Internet. I love what I do, but the only reason I am able to
continue doing it at the level that I am is because someone,
somewhere, was willing to pay me for it.

I am not focused on dollar signs (although I DO wish my Amazon sales
ranks were higher. Sigh. But then that's an occupational hazard) but
the dollars play an important part. Whenever I bank a check from my
agent, I am putting income from my writing into my account, and that
money supports me, and my family, and my pets. The fact that I love
what I do merely means that I enjoy doing the work - but it's the
doing of the work that's the important thing here, because it's the
work that I love that enables me to stay alive and functioning in this
world. I could love writing just as well if I were homeless and living
in the streets - but how would I function in such a position, and who
other than me would be in a position to know that I loved writing, or
care? It isn't being "focused on dollar signs" to look at one's next
project and wonder if it will bring in enough to keep one's head above
water for the next month or three. I'm sure J K ROwlings no longer
needs to think such thoughts - but how many of her are there in the
industry...? The rest of us live from check to check, don't have a
nice monthly income like "normal" people do, can't afford health
insurance, occasionally gaze fondly at some thing that we would very
very very much like and sigh and admit that we can't afford to have
it, and yes, glory in the company of words all the way. We write
because we love it; we survive in the writing arena because we are
paid for doing the work that we love.

That's all I wanted to say. Back to your usually scheduled
entertainments.


There.

Now back to my chapter. Need to fix up chapter-the-previous before I can allow myself to go on with chapter-the-next.

Back to your, er, regularly scheduled entertainments...