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Writing For Money

A person on my friendslist today asked her audience what markets they were currently writing to, what deadlines they had, etc.

And it sort of drew me up short, because a LOT of people on my friendslist are professional or semi-pro writers, or actively pursuing non-traditional methods of publication, and... I haven't tried to sell anything I've written since high school*. I haven't even tried to put out a tip jar, or donate button.

This is not because I agree with Miss Manners that it's begging. It's not because I can't write, or can't write to spec, don't have time to write, or can't follow submission directions.

I'm not even sure it has to do with a failing of confidence - I know I'm not an awful writer (Any more. I certainly was. That's another story). And 'not awful' is an awful lot better than plenty of the stuff out there that people pay good money for. I get nice comments from my forgiving audiences.

I tallied it up, out of curiosity - trying to figure out how much I've written, and what I've done with it.

Discounting the 8+ years of blogging I've done, I have written nearly 100 short stories and 35 non-fiction articles while not being a writer. With one exception*, I have been paid nothing for this work. I posted them in my Elfwood library, at various fanfiction site (YES, I have an account at fanfiction.net. I'm not proud.), here at livejournal, at my own site, at deviantart, in Woodworks (RIP), EMG-Zine, Epitome... Even if you cut fanfiction out of that total, I've freely shared 75 odd pieces of fiction and non-fiction.

That's not amazing when compared to some people on my friendslist (*looks significantly at certain members of the padded room society*...), but I've got some staying power. I'm not an awful writer. I like to write. I'm already doing the writing. I am even a self-avowed 'shameless capitalist' who has been selling her artwork since she had to have a parent counter-sign a business license.

So, why am I not trying to sell my writing? More, why am I not asking anything for what I'm already doing? Why do I find such a chasm between art and writing in my own head? Why does even thinking about this make me feel stupid and stubborn at the same time?

I don't have any answers yet, only the questions. I might have a really good reason for this somewhere in the weird mental swirl that is my own brain.

I also find it odd is that after I started drafting this entry up, I got a notice in my email about a gaming site looking for more (potentially paid) bloggers. I have no idea how they got my email, but I suspect it wasn't a personal note. Still, within a few moments, I had an idea for a gaming-type column that I could easily write a post a week on.

Universe, you have a weird sense of humor.




*I have sold one piece of non-fiction in this time, mostly by accident, because the market I was writing for changed to a paying market, paid me, and as far as I can tell, ONLY me (because nothing else was published in the interim), before going back to a non-paying market.

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
haikujaguar
Nov. 16th, 2009 11:09 pm (UTC)
Maybe you don't want to enter that particular rat race?
ellenmillion
Nov. 17th, 2009 12:31 am (UTC)
*laughs* Yes, it could definitely be a good portion of that...
haikujaguar
Nov. 17th, 2009 09:26 pm (UTC)
You're already an entrepreneur. I imagine selling your writing the way other people do would be like going from being your own boss to being someone's contractor.
redokapi
Nov. 17th, 2009 01:13 am (UTC)
If you swap out "writing" for "art" you could pretty much say the same things about me. I make lots of art. Tons of it. I'm not happy unless I have at least one art/craft project in progress at any given time (not just 2d art, but sculpture, digital, all sorts of stuff). However I seem completely incapable of making money off it. For pretty much the same indescribable reasons you mention.

I don't really know why either.
ellenmillion
Nov. 17th, 2009 05:25 am (UTC)
It's like this weird mental block!
pers1stence
Nov. 17th, 2009 12:17 pm (UTC)
i have found that there are some things that i love to do, but once they become a job, then it becomes work and loses its sppeal. even a passionate hobby is a different level of commitment than something that you rely on to put food on the table. some passions can thrive and survive when translated into "work" and some cant.
ellenmillion
Nov. 17th, 2009 07:22 pm (UTC)
That might be a lot of it...
metasilk
Nov. 18th, 2009 04:29 am (UTC)
The letter to Miss Manners was written by Steven Brust (author of the Vlad Taltos novels, etc.). Conversation in his blog: http://dreamcafe.com/words/2009/10/23/miss-manners-me-and-begging-for-alms/
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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