Giving It Away For Free?

Writers write. That is what they do. They do it because, to them, the act of writing is a drug that shoots them up into the brilliant starscape, the brightness of which eclipses all civilisation (well, almost). Of course, it also drags them down into the cloying mud underfoot where the worms of anxiety will wriggle inside their heads and consume the Self, but that won’t stop the writer from even revelling in the caress of the keys, or the way his fingers mould round the pen – but that’s the way it is with drugs.

Not being paid for his work will not deny the writer this high, neither will it stop him from having a desire to be read, enjoyed, valued. So, it seems he will accept the fact that payment is often not guaranteed. So what? The writer enjoys what he does. It’s not really work, is it? I used to think like that many years ago until I realised how much effort I put into the words on my page; how many hours I was spending alone; how many hours, when not actually writing, were spent thinking about plot and characters; how many hours I took editing a manuscript to a quality which I was satisfied with (at that time!)

One shouldn’t give that away for free. One shouldn’t expect it for free.

If a publisher pays, they have the right to expect a certain standard of work. This is important. As Chuck Wendig says in his blog post concerning the Huffington Post UK editor Stephen Hull, ‘content is not slurry’. Read it, it’s good, and it inspired this post.

Writing this has brought an recent incident to mind: I had access to a television – not having owned one myself for over a decade – and watched the news on the BBC. If I was astounded and concerned by how much this had been dumbed-down since I last tuned in, which I most certainly was, what hope is there for online content? Let’s not continue to keep the masses shackled by a lack of knowledge in this digital age. Let’s keep our languages strong and healthy. Let’s try to keep a respect for people in a world that increasingly alienates them. Let’s pay the writer, Mr Hull (and the rest).

I guess this post is coming to an end, as I’m heading off-course somewhat. It’s a lengthy one by my standards as I prefer to concentrate on my fiction due to time constraints. But, I guess this was a rant that had to be aired.

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