“Writing is the only profession where no one considers you ridiculous if you earn no money.” -Jules Renard
When this quote showed up on my WordPress dashboard, I was instantly amused. Of course, the natural inclination is to edit it slightly to include almost all artistic endeavors, especially since I have been an artist my entire like, and I have never earned much money in my entire life, either. What is it about the artist that makes it somehow more respectable to flounder in monetary success than other occupations? Is it the fact that passion and drive is placed higher than material goods and even food? There’s always been the romantic notion (romantic, perhaps, until it’s an actual reality) of the “starving artist,” and you’ll probably encounter a good deal of people claiming that it’s from this state that most of the good stuff is derived.
I haven’t made much on my writing yet. Technically speaking, since I haven’t gotten my first royalty check yet, I haven’t made anything from my writing so far (unless you count that medal and that bangin’ McDonald’s lunch box I won from the D.A.R.E. essay contest in sixth grade). And that’s okay. What I have done so far isn’t too shabby for a wee little writer just stepping out into the bright sunshine of the publishing world with only a droplet over 100 followers on her fledgling little blog. And you know what the best part is? It can only go up from here. There’s so much more to do to bring my writing out there and to the forefront that I haven’t quite gotten to yet.
That said, it’s not about the money. It’s like a text my roommate’s sister sent her once: “I decided to be a teacher because of the money, said no teacher, ever.” The dream of “pulling a J.K. Rowling,” as I like to call it, is definitely that: a dream. A very nice dream. A dream that’s an awful lot of fun to strive for and a dream that is actually reachable, especially with all the changes in the publishing world. Would I like to be able to make enough money through my writing so that the feeling of dread I have at the end of the month is soothed by a little extra cash rather than not enough? Duh. Is it important? No. If my work is out there, people are reading it, and people are enjoying it, then I’m a happy little pup. The money would just be an added bonus.
But enough about that. Back to the quote. It’s an interesting one, isn’t it? If it was any other career, and I said, “Yeah, I’ve made about eight bucks this month!” I would probably be considered crazy for the pride in my voice or promptly fired for being a terrible employee. Instead, in the writerly world, I get encouragement, reminders that we all start somewhere, hope that this is just a start, and I keep on plodding along with projects with applause and cheers (a few of them, anyway). Why is that? Because it’s about the passion and the drive. It’s about embracing a talent and building it, despite the fact that it does not fit into the conventional ideas of success. Because when it comes to writing, success isn’t measured by dollar bill signs. It can be, but, for most writers, we are content to know that we are telling our stories and people are reading those stories and people want more of those stories.
Now there’s a paycheck that’s far more valuable than anything you can put in a bank.
Let me also take a moment to thank liveforlife201 for following the blog! Welcome aboard! Great to have you here.