Friday, December 15, 2006

Writing for Dollars

I've come to the conclusion I don't write for money, I only wish I did.

I've used the painter/artist analogy before but I'd like to alter it a little as I don't want to compare artists--meaning those people who operate on a different plain--with us normal people.

A person who can make a living at painting (or anything else for that matter) works at his craft and, when he's good enough, goes out and finds people willing to pay him to do it. In my scenario, the painter would canvass potential customers asking, "Do you have anything you want painted?" If they did, he could do it and they would pay him.

Only a stupid person would stay locked in their house, to paint a chair and then, when it was finished, go out and try to sell it. A stupid person, and one who isn't going to make any money.

To bring this analogy into my world, it is unquestionably easier to write an article for an existing market than it is to find a market for a completed article. Yet that seems to be what I am destined to do. I can't help it, really, that's the way I'm wired.

I have tried to learn this skill, but have never been successful. I put my failure down to laziness, a complete lack of market savvy and the fact that I make too much money.

I can see now how a freelance career, in the grand scheme of things, wouldn't really be that difficult to achieve with some dedication and hard work. But at this point in my life, I am not about to quit a well-paying job while I'm struggling to save for retirement and living in one of the most expensive countries on the planet simply for the chance of selling a 2,000 word travelogue for $25. It is simply not feasible.

On the other hand, I have the advantage that a journeyman writer does not have; I can write whatever I damn well please. No one is going to go without shoes or a hot meal because i couldn't sell my latest creation.

I'm not sure how I would want things to be in a perfect world, and I guess it's moot, at any rate. Things are what they are, I do what I do and nothing is going to change that.

With the possible exception of a juicy book deal.

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