Sunday, March 13, 2016

Writing for a Living Vs. Writing for a Passion

Dr. Death: A ghoulish head wearing a top hat
Photo Credit:

I apologise, but I have to postpone the cover reveal to my horror short story by two weeks. It’s been a total burn-out week, mostly from writing--particularly from writing technical subject matter. So that’s held me back. I was so burned out one day that I hardly even wrote at all. I don’t just write imaginative, high-soaring fiction. I don’t even just write fiction. Many of us freelance writers are “forced” into writing for sources that we would prefer not to. Many of those sources are ones that require technical writing. That’s what I call writing for a living as opposed to writing for a passion.

Generally speaking, there is rarely a job opening for a fiction writer, much less a fiction writer of a particular genre. There are very few ads that read “Science Fiction Writers Wanted” or “Horror Writers Wanted”, “Fantasy Writers Wanted”, “Thriller Writers Wanted”, etc. The establishment controlled by the corporate head honchos and even the head honchos of smaller businesses that are modeled after the big ones can give a shit less about who’s looking for a position as fiction writer, unless you count the many deceiving advertisements out there. They want what’s going to bring them the money. The corporations and wanna-be corporations are most in need of us freelance writers because they don’t have the time to write themselves. So we take the writing jobs we can get. Many of these jobs pay insufficiently, but we take them because if we work enough of them the payment will add up to pay off at least one of our expenses.

So that’s writing for a living, in particular. This is much different from writing for a passion (which may cross over into writing for a living, but it makes up only a small portion of our income for most of us). When you write for a passion, you write your art, not somebody else’s; you write according to your vision, not your client’s. You create your own product instead of your client’s. You create your worlds, not your clients’ whose are, more often than not, basic duplicates of this world.

But no matter what we’re writing for, we still put in our best work. Even if we get paid very little for it. Why do we do that if we’re getting under-paid? Because the very act of writing itself is ours. And when we’re using our time, energy and talent our image will be in our work when we submit that work to the client. So we want to give the best impression possible, regardless of who owns the rights to the work after we sell it. Our basic enthusiasm to write is very primal. It is an energy that is battling to get out of us, after having been locked inside our heads for so long, and put itself in front of the world regardless of subject matter. Harlan Ellison talks about doing your best writing regardless of pay in a video that I mentioned in a post a little over a year ago. He gives really good insight on the subject, so I suggest you check it out.

I apologise again, for the delay in the cover reveal and, yes, this will move the release of “Circa Sixty Years Dead” to a later date as well (probably to the week after the reveal). However, if I happen to complete the cover illustration by next weekend then I’ll definitely post it here and then will be back on schedule. The best way you can receive an update on this is by subscribing to the blog and you can do that in the form below to the right.

So, do you feel that you can write for a passion no matter what the project is or who it’s for? Or is your writing divided into passionate writing and writing for a living? Feel free to leave your answers in the box below.

Until next time . . .

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