Does It Pay To Write?

Let’s separate the wheat from the chaff. If you are here reading this because let’s face it, it is a bit of #clickbait if you take the title alone, then you’re barking up the wrong tree. I am not here to endow you with a magic formula that means 1+1= riches and fame. You are seriously pissing up the wrong tree here. I am not going to reveal any major secrets that you haven’t already figured out about writing but just to make sure we are on the same page: (1) Writing is not easy, and; (2) You’re a prick if you think it is. Bye bye. See how they scurried away? Looking for those websites that tell you editors, publishers, and morons will never put down your work if you follow these ten easy tips. By the way, many editors and publishers are not morons, just the ones who write how to get published posts (which I have done, I didn’t say I was consistent in my wrath) and then deny their advice at a later date (I never have). My advice is golden. It has been polished enough that the brown bits still gleam through. When I say, ‘pay’ really I should say, ‘worth it’. As in, ‘Is it worth it, to write?’ but that won’t attract as many people and sounds rather passive aggressive. I prefer my passivity to have nothing to do with my aggression. I like those fluffy bunnies separate. Well, does it pay to write? Pause, scroll past the picture below of a poor man in a Victorian insane asylum and we’ll carry on to the click bait end (before you complain about the poor man, this was the original click bait in the Victorian period and highlights just how gullible and sad we are. Mediums change, the click bait remains the same).

 Image result for insane asylum victorian

It’s all down to you. Do you want to improve your craft? Read. Do you want to apply your craft? Write. There are too many writers out there who do not write. Which is an oddity to even celebrate that on social media; so many writers do adding it to their list of procrastination techniques. It isn’t as exciting as washing the pots or even hoovering as there is no real result beyond a timeline that will soon be archived, then pop up a year later telling you that a year ago today you weren’t writing. You’re still not writing when reading it because you get in a vicious loop. I know, I have been there, it is the beat yourself up circle, your bullshit literally ferments that loop. I am finding it difficult to write. I can’t write. A dog ate my writing. If I write about not writing, I’m writing still. No, it’s just another way of what John Irving says about Garp in The World According to Garp, ‘Fucking around in the garden’. In other words, writers get paid for writing, they don’t get paid for being in the garden. It’s a lovely phrase from Garp’s wife, Helen. It stuck with me after I read the book, it resonated with me because I too sometimes wander into fucking around in the garden or in my case, painting a room or sanding a door, or doing the washing up. None of these pay the bills. Writing does equal money but you have to do a lot of it. There is no muse who will be there when it comes to the edits, or working with editors or publishers, or producers, or directors, or even actors. It’s safe to say after the muse has done their initial work they royally fuck off to the pub and leave you with your nose to the grind stone to do all that fiddly work that would age them. After all, a muse with wrinkles and bags under their eyes doesn’t get the work anymore. You will spend years writing, often alone, often failing, sometimes getting it right. You will have wrists that when you turn sound like a failing water wheel, parts of your fingers will be worn from typing but not the parts that mean you have no finger prints and therefore can fuck around robbing banks in the dead of night. You are not a cat burglar. You could write a good one but not even the ginger tom from number sixty-four will give you much of a running chance of sneaking across the rooftops at four in the morning without sliding off into the shrubbery below. More than likely you’ll end up with glasses and copious amounts of books which will lower your heating bills but will need hoovering every now and again to get rid of pests and dust. You will tell people you will stop buying books whilst shoving them down your pants. You will learn not to tell people what you are writing because they all have an opinion or don’t give a damn, there will be no apathy; that is saved for reviews. You may do readings that are glorious and ones which make a mute wake look like a happening event. You will be crass. You will be funny. You will be committed because writing does not mean there are ten easy ways to get published because there are writers who you love and loathe who were published and are nowhere to be seen now because of failing sales, failing health or failing love with the art of writing. Writing pays me everyday in ways that only I understand, it drives me mad, keeps me sane, allows me to be passionate about something. You however are different than me, there are no quick fixes, just resonances that something I am saying clicks with you but that is only the first step. Learn how to spell. Learn how punctuation works. Have fire in your belly and brain in your head. Do your research. Argue your corner. Be you. That’s all you bring to the table. Pay someone else to beat you up. Life is short. So on and so on with every trite saying that will make you feel better but won’t make you write. Writing is the craft of writing. The art of it is in doing it.

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