Those are not the only reasons that people write, but they are powerful motivators. I don’t believe that many people set out on the grueling task of writing a novel hoping that they will become “mute inglorious Miltons.” They hope to be known; they hope to be read.
And they hope, in the end, that being read they might quit their day jobs and write full time. Writing full time is not an easy row to hoe. It’s bloody hard work if you’re trying to do it clearly and well and day after day.
Here at the TucsonCitizen the majority of the content providers are unpaid bloggers. (Columnists, Reporters, Citizen Journalists.) It’s always been “no pay” in the blogosphere. Bloggers have something to say that they want other people to read and for the most part have been grateful for a platform that allows them to grind their own axes without the benefit of editorial supervision. Being paid was not a primary requirement.
But…and there’s always a but…being paid is no bad thing, and not for the reason you may suspect. Being paid, even at pitiful freelance rates, keeps you working at the craft.
MS DataPort and I have been writing for pay for the best part of 35 years. Not enough to leave our day jobs, and not always the grandest material, but certainly enough to allow us to call ourselves professional writers. Here’s what we’ve found.
When an editor says, yes she’d like a piece on the latest trends, and she’d like it in two weeks, you deliver in two weeks and cheerfully do the rewriting she requires. Why? Because, even though you’re getting paid in pauper’s pence, that’s what professionals do. The promise of a buck or two keeps you writing despite the demands of your day job.
If you are only a volunteer it is too easy to put off until tomorrow what you put off again until the day after that.
Regular visitors to the Tucson Citizen may remember more than one blogger who joined us all excited and enthusiastic only to fade from view when it turned out that blogging was harder and took more time than expected.
Two of my favorite blogs, gone but not forgotten, were “God Blogging” and the ever conservative “Fort Buckley.” These were wonderfully written blogs…but I imagine the demands of day jobs put paid to their appearance here. I don’t know if being offered a buck or two would lure them back…but it would be worth a try.
Next: Bulletin Board or Newspaper?