When I tell people I’m a writer they usually ask me how much I earn. I usually smile and say “enough.” I’ve been giving this answer even before I started earning money, when my stories were available for free on Wattpad.
The thing is that being a writer, or any other kind of artist, also means that most probably you’ll never earn a lot of money. Million dollar advances are extremely rare. Besides, I’m quite sure that most artists aren’t in this for money.
But what exactly do you earn if not money? Is there something else to being a writer?
Well, let’s make a list of the perks of being a writer.
- You can be as eccentric as you want. People expect writers to be a bit crazy.
- You get to do what you love.
- You can act lazy, sleep on the couch all day, and blame writer’s block.
- You can be an alcoholic (if you’re into that sort of thing) and people will forgive you for it.
- You get to tell people you’re a writer. Some will find you interesting.
- People will think you know more about books than the rest of the world. ‘Cause you write the damn things.
- You’re your own boss. Especially if you self-publish. Yeah, the thing is that you still have to show up at the desk and work for as long as you feel like it. But that’s the point. As long as you like. If you don’t feel like it, you can take a break. Go on a holiday. Do other stuff.
Any I missed?
Okay, now on a more serious note. The perk I like most is that once in a while someone tells you they love your story. Whether a five star review on Amazon, an e-mail, a blog comment, it doesn’t matter as long as someone genuinely loves your writing. Money can’t buy this mixture of admiration and envy that people feel when they read something really, really good. A paragraph or just a few short sentences that describe exactly how they feel in the world.
Two strangers, the writer and the reader, locked in this strange dance… there’s nothing that can compare to it. And you, as a writer, realize that you’re not as alone as you thought. Someone else feels the same way as you do.
As Tennessee Williams once said, you’re not lonely alone.