Some thoughts on writing and money

 

  • Nobody wants to pay you what you’re worth. For anything. Ever.

 

  • You don’t get into the business of writing because you wanted a quick way to make some cash. If so, day trading and prostitution would have been much more viable options. But you wanted to write, because it seemed like happiness was the most viable option and money wasn’t necessarily the way to achieve that. But like every other human being currently living in a Capitalist society, you need money to pay your rent and maybe enough to go to the hospital if you need your appendix removed. Anyone can start up a magazine, and even without offering any pay they usually have writers clamoring to submit and have their name in a byline.

 

  • If I did the math correctly, I currently probably make about 5 cents for every hour I spend writing.  Unless it’s game writing, which has has more value than my personal work.
  • The payment rate for short stories hasn’t increased much with inflation in the last hundred years. And that’s primarily because there’s not a market for them anymore. When was the last time you bought a magazine and read it? That’s what I thought.

 

  • Writing is one of the most difficult skills that exist, but the barrier point is low and the ability to recognize good from mediocre writing is a skill in itself. And honestly, oftentimes, people don’t need an excellent writer – they need a “good enough” writer. At some point the skill that you acquire will get lesser and lesser returns unless you become wildly famous. So you have to remember that you’re doing this for you.

 

  • That picture of Virginia Woolf is up there because she once wrote “A woman must have money and a room of her own to write.” Autonomy of the self and mind, and solitude, seems essential for writing.

 

  • Whenever people ask me what I do and I tell them I’m a writer, it doesn’t feel like a legitimate use of time because currently I’m not making that much money. Every day I feel as if I struggle with the capitalist idea that if I’m not making a $$$ return on my investment, than what I’m doing is useless. Which I guess is the same kind of logic that affects housewives and parents who do a lot of unpaid physical and emotional labor.

 

  • If you actually want to make money, poetry and short stories are probably the absolute worst thing to write. Multimedia is probably the best.

 

  • Money doesn’t solve everything, but it certainly gives you more options. If you don’t have to decide whether to pay the Internet bill OR fix a broken tooth, then it puts a lot less stress on your life. We didn’t do this for money but damn it sure is nice to have it.

 

  • For hundreds of years artists have survived on patronage, writing erotica, and begging and borrowing from family members and friends. If it helps, people of the Internet currently asking for money via Patreon or asking your friend to spot you at the bar, you come from a long lineage of artists supporting themselves through unsavory methods.

 

  • This could really all be fixed by creating a Utopian society where no-one had to do things for money and they could pursue their own interests without worrying they were going to starve, but I don’t see that happening in my lifetime

 

  • I’m incredibly lucky in that I’ve never starved or wanted for money so badly that I felt hopeless. I grew up middle-class and never knew what it was like to live in years of poverty. So my ideas about money and it’s importance are likely to be skewed because of it. If i had a family to support, my ideas about my worth and happiness might change substantially because of it.

 

  • I rarely work for free unless I see another non-monetary benefit to the work (Promotion, usually, not just “the love of writing”). It’s the principle of the thing, because if people want something from you, that means it has value.

 

  • If you don’t have a lot of money, boxed macaroni & cheese and a head of broccoli is a pretty good meal

 

  • Make sure to budget for alcohol

 

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