09 January 2014

Price yourself - The value of your work

I've seen a few articles and comments around the internet lately about "worth" of writing. Some articles deal with pricing and potential financial gain (this link may disappear), while others are simply the equivalent of sitting in a corner and whining because shit isn't working out the way a person assumed it would. I won't point the latter out, simply because it's okay to feel down about something not turning out quite how one expected.

But what does this mean for us as writers? There are so many examples of overnight success stories, yet there are millions of books that haven't been widely read, and I'd like to imagine that the authors of those stories love their work and want to share with the world. Sure, you can quit. If the publishing/self-publishing racket isn't your bag, go ahead. But what's to gain from quitting?

I'm sure many of you remember the famous story between the tortoise and the hare. At times in my life, I've felt like either of the characters. Zip through life, take time to relax and bam! Life has run me over. More so lately, I feel like the tortoise, and the finish line isn't getting any closer. But what is it exactly that I'm after here?

I have no fucking idea.

If I could make a wishlist of what I'd like to achieve, it'd be a lot more than just writing books. I'd love to learn guitar, see the world, go back to school. Some things I will be able to do, eventually, provided I am patient and bide my time. Other goals cannot be achieved without a deal of severe sacrifice, such as writing full-time. Unless something fell out of the sky to change that fact, from this vantage point, I would have to stop working the real job in order to provide enough time to pursue my dreams. That's not going to happen, but what I can do is not quit. Do my best to not complain about how I'm not getting what I feel I deserve from the world. The world doesn't owe me a goddamned thing. Unless it's in a contract, then that shit is due when agreed. See? Simple.

The point of this ridiculous blabber is to simply say, hey. I see you there. Trying. Working. Writing. Things can be easy, or they can be tough. Things change. The industry is changing. On all fronts. Media in general, whether it be newspaper, radio, music recording, writing, etc. The experts have no fucking idea where we are going in all of this. Technology has progressed at lightning speed, making it easier and easier to get what we want, when we want it.

Maybe that's why it's so damned frustrating when it doesn't rain paychecks. I don't know how old you might be, reader, but I'm old enough to remember the time when, if I wanted something, I had to work for it. Even if it just meant driving to pick it up physically, in person, and hold it in my IRL hands. I try to remember that part of the reward is the challenge itself. And that comparing myself to people who have worked their asses off, without working my own ass off, is juvenile.

Let this be a note to myself and maybe you. Be your own challenge, and no matter what happens, if what you are doing is what you must...then do it for yourself, above all. Before the champagne and limousine dreams. Write because it brings you peace.

C.C.


9 comments:

wulfie said...

Amen.

Alannah Murphy said...

Well said Carrie. I often feel like the tortoise too, have feel like that all my life actually. It took a London to Paris bike trek to teach me that it did not matter HOW LONG it took you to get to your destination as long as you got there.
One day, I'll finish my one story, I've stopped stressing as to when. In the mean time, plenty of other things to have fun with.
I find it quite sad that most artists hardly get any money for their art, and that the public just moans expecting everything for free...meh

Carrie Clevenger said...

The free thing really irks me. So much damage done there, but we want so badly to share our stuff and get noticed. Why else do we create? Self-entertainment? I'll not answer my own question. ;)

Alannah Murphy said...

Definitely not self-entertainment for me, more like beating up demons and or purging them...

Carrie Clevenger said...

Initially, I started writing out of grief I wasn't allowed to express. Writing turned out to be more satisfying than drawing, which I'd done all my life up to that point. Now, it's just these IDEAS, ideas, IDEAS. They're like bunnies and breed in my brain so I have to let them out every so often. Is that demon purging? Ha.

Alannah Murphy said...

No, ideas are a good thing. I am still in the demon purging stage, maybe one day, if I manage to get past the demons (and man, I got a whole legion ha), then, hopefully, there will be ideas waiting for me :-)

John Wiswell said...

It's been decades since anything I wanted to do didn't require at least fighting my own body to make it happen. I also have come to appreciate some resistance in the pursuit and enriching of reward, though if we can streamline some of this publishing success, I'll listen!

Carrie Clevenger said...

I guess the thing is just to write crap until it works.

David Jón Fuller said...

Sometimes I think even pursuing your writing dreams means you're in for a "life of quiet desperation" -- it's such a long marathon of creating, putting your work out there, weathering rejections, getting in front of people's eyes -- and then, likely, taking criticism of it as well! But I agree with your comment "write crap until it works." Perseverance seems to be one thing no writer can do without.