Sunday, December 16, 2007

Writing For A Living

I've felt this admission coming on for some time. Someone on one of my loops recently asked for a show of hands of those who write for a living. I raised mine. I commented that I write anytime, anyplace, for anyone who’ll pay me.

Lest you think that’s too mercenary and that I’m a writer whore, I do have my boundaries.

Like my handyman, I consider my profession a business, but there are boundaries. I like that word. It denotes “personal” freedom, self-imposed guidelines, and ethics. At least it does to me. I’ll write under these conditions:

**I must like what I’m doing.
**There has to be a certain level of rapport with whom I work.
**If neither of those conditions exist, I’m usually outta there.

Yes, I’ve written things that didn’t float my boat. I liked them going in, but I didn’t like them coming out (liked what I'd written most of the time - just didn't always agree with the edits). However, a contract is to be honored – another personal thing. I honor MINE, and if the publisher, editor, whoever doesn’t honor theirs…well, we have a come-to-Jesus meeting and work things out.

Have I ever dropped a publisher or an agent? Yes. But I don’t chat it up, and I don’t revisit. That’s not professional.

Like a household, I have my spaces. If we share a space, everyone pitches in. If it’s your space, I stay out of it and how it’s run unless I have to go in there to get something. Laundry is something I do, for instance. I actually LIKE doing laundry, and I’m limited in physical activities. So if I have to scrounge for the laundry – you can do it yourself. If I have to wade through a landmine to get to it – you do it yourself.

Same with writing. Publishers have guidelines – or they should. Publishers have ethics – or they should. If I’m in the dark or not treated fairly, one of three things will happen. Ethics will rule, we’ll find an arbitrator, or we’ll cease to exist as a working unit.

Like my handyman, I set my own hours or we agree upon them. Like him, I must work within a reasonable time frame and with reasonable goals and expectations.

You’ll notice that pay hasn’t come up until now. I don’t work just for the money. I’m quite mercenary, but pay isn’t as important as the relationship for me. I go in knowing what I’m worth and what I’ll do to get what I want. I also take a solid look at the other party. If they’re a new publisher, they won’t have as much start-up as an established company. But if I like them and they like me, if I believe in them, I’ll go with them…and the hell with anyone who doesn’t like it. Same as with people. There are marvelous, wonderful, talented, beautiful people who don’t always get a fair shake. They should.

Of COURSE, I have aspirations that don’t include every publisher I’m currently with. So? Doesn’t mean I wouldn’t still write for them if they’d have me. Would you ditch the friends you’d eaten beans with just because you could afford caviar later on and they couldn’t? And ya know something…those publishers you might consider beans JUST MIGHT have a shot at the caviar themselves at some point. Look at Ellora’s Cave. The company began in the owner’s tiny apartment. Now it’s a globally recognized company. Look at some of the largest corporations you can name – some of their former CEO’s couldn’t find jobs checking at Wal-Mart right now. Ethics, people. Respect. Likeability. Those are the things that are truly important.
Anyway, ‘nuff said. I just felt like blogging.

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6 Comments:

At 12:04 PM, Blogger Amie Stuart said...

Ethics, people. Respect. Likeability. Those are the things that are truly important.

AAAAAAAAAAAMEN!!!!!! Hugs honey and happy holidays!

 
At 5:51 PM, Blogger Merry said...

What she said.

 
At 6:55 AM, Blogger Lyn Cash said...

Many thanks, ladies!

 
At 6:12 PM, Blogger Shesawriter said...

I second what Cece said! If you're loyal, people remember that.

 
At 8:50 PM, Blogger Kate R said...

Yeah.

 
At 7:31 AM, Blogger Trace said...

Well said, woman!

 

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