Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Grinds My Gears: "Work"


I subscribe to Writer's Digest magazine. If you write, and especially if you write for money, doing so is a worthwhile investment (about ten bucks a year for the digital edition) in maintaining and improving your craft.

Like most publications, Writer's Digest has "partners." That is, advertisers. And in the information age that means more than just each page consisting of 3/4 content and 1/4 display ads. It means I get email.

In particular I get email -- nearly, if not actually, every day -- from something called American Writers & Artists, Inc.  AWAI constantly tries to sell me their magazine (Barefoot Writer), their courses on copywriting, etc. I almost fell for one of their pitches some time back, but after spending some time checking out reviews, I became convinced that they are essentially a "writer niche" version of a get rich quick scheme. Buy one thing from them, they're back a week later with the "next level" that this time will actually have all the good stuff in it that you thought you were buying last time. Like that.

Here's the subject line of an AWAI email I received this morning:

Thomas, want to quit work and get paid to write?

Wow. Just ... wow!

I'm supposed to believe that these people are the living experts on how to make a living as a writer. At the same time, I'm supposed to believe that writing isn't "work." Writing is lying on a méridienne eating bonbons and occasionally randomly pecking away on a laptop and checking my ever-increasing bank balance while an expensive dog, or perhaps an expensive mistress, hovers nearby to hang adoringly on my every move.

If only.

Trade secret time. I probably shouldn't even consider sharing this with you, lest I face severe sanctions from my comrades in the Super-Secret Cabal of Writer Types. But I'm going to anyway.

Writing is work.

Not back-breaking work like digging ditches (which I've done).

Not, for the most part, on the same plane of intellectual effort as nuclear physics (which I've not done).

But definitely, beyond doubt, work.

Especially if one bothers to do it well.

That is all.

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