1. JC Axe
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    JC Axe New Member

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    Freelance Is writing it's own reward?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by JC Axe, Sep 10, 2014.

    I've encountered recently many would-be authors saying things like "I used to write, but then I realised there's no money in it, so I stopped."

    This attitude depresses me a little bit. Now, I'm not going to pretend that I don't enjoy the times I've made a little money from writing. It's great, and the fact that you're being paid for something you've created is very gratifying, but really, is that the only value it has?

    Have you ever had a conversation with a friend or a family member, and found their words to be inciteful, funny or informative? Did you tell them? Or did you expect them to request payment for the words they'd imparted?

    I'd love for a publisher to contact me, and offer me ridiculous amounts of money to write for them, but it will probably never happen. Still, I love to write and I always have done. The feedback I get makes me feel incredible, but even without that, it is always good to have a creative outlet in your life. It helps to process your thoughts, rationalise or expand upon them, and ultimately grow as a person, regardless of talent or prospects of payment. Everything we write has value, even if it doesn't pay the bills.

    Pretentious rant over.

    Sorry guys.

    JC Axe
     
  2. ChaosReigns
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    ChaosReigns Be Still and Know Contributor

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    For me it is! i got 3 poems published in a charity anthology (of which all proceeds go to the charity) which was awesome, so see them in both the print and the ebook format made me feel pretty amazing, and made me think, thats my work! (ok, i write under a pen name, but, its an amazing feeling nevertheless)

    i am still writing my main series of novels, ive finished two of the first drafts with two to go, and when you get to the end of them, its an amazing feeling to think, "ive just spent this time pouring my soul into this piece of art (i call it an art, because you paint images with words) which has taken this form."
     
  3. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    In my opinion, any form of expression is its own reward. Despite the fact that I'm never going to be a famous singer, I still like to sing in the shower because it makes me happy. ;)

    By the way, publishers aren't going to contact you and offer you money to write something. The way it works is that you have to write something, polish it, and then submit it. If the publisher/agent/editor likes it, only then will it have a chance of being published.
     
  4. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    There are things I do because I enjoy doing them, and some of them happen to be profitable: programming, designing software, designing websites, solving engineering problems, mathematically modeling things, teaching, and even technical writing.

    Creative writing is not one of those things. I do not enjoy doing it, and for now, I have no intent to profit from it. It is neither a way to express myself nor an outlet for my feelings; it is a painstaking, deliberate effort to produce something that accomplishes a specific goal. Even programming is an easier way for me to express my personality than creative writing.

    Everyone has their form of charity. For some, it is donating money. For others, it is volunteer work at hospitals, public libraries, etc.

    My form of charity is writing something people will enjoy reading. Of all the things that have improved my life over the past few years, one of the most powerful has been the edification and catharsis from some of my favorite fictional stories. If other people experience the same thing and I am responsible for it, then that gives me a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction that I have not gotten from anything else I have ever done in my life. If Robert Heinlein was right about love ("that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own"), then I love people who read fiction I wrote: if they are happy, then I am happy.

    More importantly, I am happy when any beautiful thing comes into existence. The most valuable beautiful things exist in the form of information because they are not bound by time or space. Text is a type of information with a unique capacity to be beautiful. If I am responsible for one such piece of text coming into existence, then I am responsible for something that makes me happy.

    Which is to say: there are reasons to write creatively other than money or the pleasure of writing.
     
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  5. terminalfrost
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    terminalfrost New Member

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    Yes!
     
  6. Renee J
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    Renee J Contributing Member

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    There's nothing wrong with choosing something because you can make a living on it. There's a difference between writing for your enjoyment and writing for others (like a freelance job.) If someone decides they aren't going to write something for twenty dollars because it's not worth it, good for them. If someone hires you to write an article, it becomes a job, and you should be compensated.
     
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  7. PensiveQuill
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    PensiveQuill Contributing Member

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    For me, yes and no. I like clicking away on a keyboard. It feel therapeutic and of course I like stringing together a story or making a point. But I also want these writings to go somewhere and do something in this world. So yes absolutely I would like to write for financial gain as well. If I don't get there, at least I made a decent effort at doing so. So I will not feel fulfilled at one without a serious attempt at the other as well.

    I wish I could say that tapping away at whimsical verse was enough for me. Things would be simpler then.
     
  8. EllBeEss
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    EllBeEss Contributing Member

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    Writing drives me insane at times but even if it will never take me anywhere a part of me is only happy when some idea has me awake at 2am and I'm pacing around the room trying to work out the intricacies of whatever scene is in my head or when I'm sitting at me computer, talking to myself as I type. So for me it is its own reward. I know most of what I write is terrible but it makes me happy and I know I'm improving with every word.
     
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  9. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    I feel like writing, for me, is an addictive drug. I get withdrawals, need to get my fix, but hate it. Yeah, I get a creative high, but then I get annoyed, anxious, frustrated and get a serious desire never to do it again. Writing is reclusive and destructive. It chews up time, energy, and mental focus I could use for other things. I'm investing in nothing but an emotional need. Fuck the money. I don't even like the act of writing, the work and the stress and constant frustration when I can't figure out what I need to do to fix the problem. But I need to do it, and I need the creative high, or I get too agitated. I need to quiet the voices that keep urging me to write. A gut feeling constantly telling me that I should be doing it. Itchy feet. That may sound dumb, but that's my genuine experience. I've been addicted for over 20 years and it's not always a good thing. But in the end the satisfaction of creating something exceptional will make the torment worth it. At least, that's what keeps me going.
     
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  10. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Oh my god, yes. I would have nothing to write creatively about if not for a series of fateful nights of insomnia. Complete with pacing around the room, sitting down at the computer to type, getting up, sitting down to type, getting up, and self-talk all the way through.
     
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  11. MustWrite
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    MustWrite Member

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    Wow this thread is realy interesting; I too get a reward out of writing and yet find writing downright painful at times. But like Selbbin I get itchy if I don't and writing keeps me sane. Well, saner ;)
     
  12. elynne
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    elynne Active Member

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    there's a bit in Watership Down about the fields and hills in moonlight. the author says (don't have the exact quote handy) that we take sunlight for granted; when we visualize something, we imagine seeing it in sunlight. moonlight is more rare; it's more easily hidden by clouds, bright city lights, or its own phases. so when we see a landscape in moonlight, it looks--magical, beautiful, transformed.

    writing is my moonlight. I don't need it; I can live without it, and have done for longish stretches of time. but when I'm not doing it, the world is--functional and bare. when I'm writing, everything is different. even when I'm frustrated, stuck, convinced that what I'm writing is terrible garbage, it's still more vivid and intense for me than most other things I experience in life. and I can do this all by myself in the comfort of my personal cubbyhole, without expensive toys or drugs or life-threatening stunts.

    like any other skill, when I haven't done it for a while and pick it up again, at first it feels clumsy and stiff, and I mourn the amazing things I'd written in the past. but after a while I find my rhythm, and the words start flowing again. it's always been there, as long as I can remember. my muse forgives my lapses of attention, and is perfectly happy to go back to kicking me in the head with her steel-toed boots of inspiration if I give her the slightest chance.

    in the creation myth of ancient Egypt, Thoth makes the world and all the things in it by writing them into reality. that's what I do when I write. I'm creating a reality. it has always been a gift to me.

    pretentiousness level: OVER NINE THOUSAND
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2014
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  13. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Writing is its own reward but not in the sense that people often say of art, when they want to enjoy it but don't want to pay for it. To me writing is more valuable than anything I can earn from it, and I do it primarily for that reason, even though I'm not currently being paid for it. On the other hand, I had an awesome setup with a big audience and I was getting a lot in return for my endeavours, exposure, advice, reviews, fame, but not money. And I decided to stop wasting my energy and time producing literature for free, because I wanted to be compensated for my efforts, make a career out of it. So in that sense, writing isn't its own reward. It's all relative.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2014
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  14. stevesh
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    stevesh Banned Contributor

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    It can be its own reward, I guess, but I don't know how you would know if you're any good at writing unless someone is willing to pay for it.
     
  15. Poet of Gore
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    Poet of Gore Member

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    i think you have to write because you love it. there is no guarantee you will ever get published. i think many people are in love with the idea of writing and not actually writing. i have to write
     
  16. JC Axe
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    JC Axe New Member

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    Some interesting comments. I'm inclined to agree that if you are being asked to write something, which you may otherwise have never written, you are entitled to be paid for the service. So for example, if somebody asks me to write an article about the adoption rates of Information Technology in the real estate companies in Saudi Arabia (as somebody once did), then I expect to be paid because it is a very specialised subject, which will require a great deal of research, and because I wouldn't ever write about that of my own volition. I also think that if somebody uses something you have written to make profit themselves, then you are entitled to be compensated as it is your own intellectual property they are using.

    That being said, most of the things I write are kept on my computer and never shared.

    JC Axe
     
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  17. Renee J
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    Renee J Contributing Member

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    When someone says they stopped writing because they aren't making any money, do they mean they stopped trying to make a living from writing? Or do they mean they stopped writing, period?
     
  18. Empty Bird
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    Empty Bird Member

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    I'd definitely say writing was it's own reward. All the time you put into writing something that you eventually finish...whether or not anyone picks it up to publish it, I just think the satisfaction of having put somet4hing down on paper is gratifying all in itself.

    Reasons are personal to everyone. Some people see writing as a carreer, a hobby- or, if you're extremely lucky- both. But at the end of the day, success is determined not by whether or not you get paid for it (depending on your attitude, of course) but I'm a strong believer in that success is he personal leaps and bounds a person can make.

    And completing a book...not everyone can do that! It's a talent and a reward all in itself!
     
  19. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Yes. But it's not always a rewarding experience. I've been reading grammar books again, trying to conquer the comma. There's nothing fun about that. Not even remotely. The only thing that will be rewarding is when I can actually lay them down with confidence. Something I'm looking forward too. :) As for monetary rewards. That all depends on the writer and their goals.
     
  20. jaebird
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    jaebird Active Member

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    To me, writing is its own reward. I’ve not yet gotten paid for anything I’ve written, but it doesn’t mean I’m going to stop. It’s too addicting. You could say that getting paid for something you’ve put so much time and effort into is like the icing on the cake. That added sense of, “Hey, I must have at least a little talent at this!”

    I think it really just comes down to why you write in the first place.
     
  21. Poet of Gore
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    Poet of Gore Member

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    most of the stuff that someone gets paid to write is shit so getting paid is not a good marker. you have to know if your stuff is good. look how many great books had a hard time getting published and took years to get a decent following.
     
  22. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    Writing is pretty indulgent and even narcissistic if you think about it. Especially writing that we want people to read. That's not a bad thing, as such, but we're a pretty arrogant lot if we assume anyone is going to care about what we think, believe or make up.
     
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  23. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Getting paid for my fictional efforts isn't a big motivator for me—in fact, it could be a hassle, as I'm retired, and would have to declare income, etc—but I do hope people will read them and enjoy them, once I get them finished and edited.
     
  24. stevesh
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    stevesh Banned Contributor

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    I'm also retired, but will gladly trade the hassle of declaring extra income for the pleasure of receiving same.

    I'm apparently in the minority on this question, but as a firm believer in The Market I still say that you don't know if you're any good (at anything) or not if your product doesn't succeed in the marketplace. Sure, there are examples (many of them) of now-famous and successful writers who had their work rejected multiple times at first. But their talent was eventually recognized (or they wouldn't be successful). I don't think that the world is full of brilliant, unpublished authors.

    Good luck on that independence thing, no matter what side you're on.
     
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  25. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Thanks, @stevesh. Regarding the referendum, I hope the world wishes us well. It's a huge pivotal moment, for sure.

    As to your attitude towards making money, well, who wouldn't want to be paid for what they do? If I were in my early 30s or so, I would be more interested in selling my writing, for sure. But as a 65-year-old, I guess I just want to spend the time I've got left actually writing, and not pursuing agents, etc. I wouldn't say no if one dropped in my lap but that's not likely if I don't make the effort to shake the tree. So I'll just carry on as I am, at least at the moment.

    It's a pleasure for me to write, and I would like it to be available for people to read, even if it's only a few. Making the money really isn't an issue for me, and I'm lucky enough not to be in dire need of more funds to live on, so I'll probably take the self-publishing route. But I do actually BUY books, after all, so I totally support the notion of authors getting paid. :) It's just not the reason I write.
     

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