I agree that the publishing industry has changed rapidly and every day there seems to be something new to learn. Sometimes I feel so far behind, I’ll never catch up. I’m battling a mental block when it comes to actually learning how to convert a manuscript to an eBook. Hopefully, I’ll figure it out. Instead of becoming discouraged or overwhelmed, I have to look at it as fun so it doesn’t seem too much of a challenge. At any rate, if you’re like me, dwelling on what you can’t do will paralyze you to the point you can’t accomplish anything. Dwelling on what I hear from other writers can paralyze me too.
I suppose you know that professional writers who get paid for their work don’t think very highly of writers who produce anything for FREE. They say things like, “If you write for free or substandard wages, you ruin it for the rest of us.” And they say, “If an editor can get a writer for free, why would they pay one?”Here’s a news flash: We’ll never get paid what we think we’re worth.
Sure, being paid makes us feel valued. Receiving a check--large or small--makes us feel we’re actually doing something important, not being taken advantage of. We’re smart enough to know that someone in the industry is making money--it’s just not us.I’ve written for money and I’ve written for free. I’ve written for contributor’s copies, a byline and I’ve written for an online subscription. About the only place I draw the line is: no byline, no article. A girl’s gotta get something outta the deal!
I think the big questions for those of us who love writing and want to do it whether we get paid or not are:Would we really keep writing if we never got paid? Do we love it that much? When we work on our novels, we’re writing for free but we hope and pray we’ll sell those books. If we knew we’d never sell them, would we keep writing them? Where can free writing take us? We’re always learning, of course, but can’t it lead (in the long run) to bigger, better opportunities? Of course, it can.
In the September 30th issue of Parade Magazine, there was an article on Sandra Day O’Connor by David Gergen. O’Connor graduated from Stanford Law School in 1952, and among the top students in her class. She couldn’t find a job. She applied for every job advertised on the placement bulletin board; not a single interview. Finally, O’Connor talked a county attorney’s office into letting her work for free until they could budget money to pay her. She says regardless of no pay, she loved her job. And we know what happened three decades later--she was appointed to the country’s highest court.
What would have happened if Sandra Day O'Connor had let pride, anger, bitterness keep her from doing what she loved and was trained to do?
- I hope we all continue to do what we love and refuse to be discouraged by those who criticize us or unknowingly block our progress.
- I hope you'll never be too proud to write for free, but always remember how much you love writing.
- I hope you always remember that if you have a goal, a dream, a desire - there’s a way to accomplish it.
- And that you'll always walk through the doors and windows that open. -Believe me, they open when you least expect it.
Take this opportunity to read the piece on SandraDay O’Connor in it’s entirety.