This is a guest post by Harlow Drake

If another person says, “You should write because you love it, not because you want to make money,” I’m going to scream. What’s so wrong with looking for a way to quit my monotonous, unfulfilling, the-reason-I-went-to-college-but-it-sucks day job? Sure I make a good living, but at a cost — my creative juices.

I’ve come to abhor working 9 to 5. In fact, I may have a disease. It’s called, “I’m-going-to-kill-myself-if-I-have-to-keep-doing-this-sh**.”

I feel physically ill when I rise at 7:10 a.m. to begin my day. The husband, kids, and even the dogs know to let me rise on my own on the weekends or suffer dire consequences, much like poking a sleeping bear.

I truly believe we’re all here for a bigger purpose. I used to think it was to train my husband. Done. Have and raise kids. (The kids are teenagers now—teenagers are evil, but that’s a totally separate blog post.) Are you ever really done training kids? For the sake of argument — done. Train the dogs. They were already trained when we got them from the Rescue. Done.

For years, I searched for my calling. First, I thought it was to become a court reporter. Been there, done that (almost). I completed the training, but never actually got a court reporting job. So I went back to college, got a degree in business administration, and went to work.

I can honestly say there’s never been one job I’ve “loved,” not like when I write. Some days I can’t get the words down fast enough. There’s nothing like coming up with a scene that makes you stop writing and say, “Ooh, that’s good.”

I yearn for a more flexible life that includes: not waking before 11 a.m.; working in pajamas; eating at my leisure; napping with the dogs (don’t tell the husband I let them sleep in the bed when he’s not home); spending more time with the husband and kids (again, teenagers are evil); and earning an income to sustain (not exceed) my current lifestyle.

I’m supposed to be a writer. It’s written in the stars. I’m a Leo and so are Ray Bradbury, Emily Bronte, James Baldwin, and J.K. Rowling. Also, I think I have adult ADD, which will serve me well in this career field. There’s not a darn thing wrong with wanting to sell your work. Writers are artists. We want to be appreciated for our work. Paying for it is proof of that.

So the next time someone gives you that spiel, tell them to piss off or not. It’s up to you.

I’m going to finish my book, publish it, and see if there’s an appreciation for it.

Buy the ticket, take the ride.

 

About this post’s author:

Author Harlow Drake was born in Kansas City, MO, but grew up in Denver, CO. She relocated to North Carolina five years ago with her husband, two dogs, and 16-year old twins. Her debut novel, Life in Death (to be published in early 2012), is a murder mystery that pulls from real-life situations in her own family history. She felt compelled to share her story with the world while offering a thrilling, entertaining, and amusing escape for readers. She loves to connect with her readers on Twitter, her blog, and on Facebook.

About the Author

  1. And here’s my favorite TR quote for Harlow: “Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” That’s become my mantra. Many people will never understand the drive to pursue writing as a career–they’ll think you’re unrealistic, immature, and even selfish. But you know what’s meant for you, not them. Make the TR quote your mantra too 😀

  2. Here-here. The fact is that as it stands whether you are writing part-time or full-time, you deserve to be paid. Yes, write because you love it. I know I enjoy placing the words down on paper. I love finding that special thing about my newest hero or creating the world for them to live and play in. But after all that work an author wants to be rewarded and paid.

    Good luck in your career and with those teenagers!

  3. I totally agree with you! Every time I hear “profit is theft,” or “you should just give your stuff away,” or “ideas should be free,” I want to choke someone. I took a class on intellectual property, only to find out after I had signed up and paid my fees that the professor was *against* it — he wanted to do away with copyrights, trademarks, and patents! His idea was that we artists and creative types should go back to having patrons, like Mozart and such had in the old days, to make our living. The works themselves, however, belonged to the world, to “inspire creativity” in others.

    To be hacked apart, stolen, derived from, copied, and sold without my getting so much as a shaved farthing, according to him. I don’t think I’ve ever been angrier than when I left each lecture. When I finished the course, I was shaking and almost sick with rage.

    I already make my webcomic available to be read online for free. But I sell print copies to those who like to hold a paper comic book in their hands — such people do exist! — and I sell prints and posters and stuff too, and someday I’ll be doing sketches. I want to be able to make SOMETHING off that, not have some yahoo think it’s ok to download my webcomic and print it up so HE can make money off my work!

    And the ones that think I’m some kind of “ebil capitalist 1-percenter” because I sell my comics online, guess again. I would LIKE to make money off my work, but I don’t. I’m not that well known yet. But I have hopes! And until then, I would like the option to be left open!

  4. Well said. Alleluuuuuah! Also, I might add that cooking is the next thing I want to eliminate. I absolutely hate it. Personal Chef please.

    Loved this post. Made me laugh and say Amen at the same time.

    Take care and keep on keepin on.

    Frantastically yours,
    Frances

  5. Great post. Could’ve been me who wrote it except for the psychotic kids, the dogs, and training the husband (I’ve decided to give up on him completely). Our time IS just as valuable as the cashiers at Stop and Shop, so we deserve to be recognized for the love, effort, and creativity we put into our work. Well said!

  6. Love this post, I personally blogged about something much like this a while ago. If I could support my family while writing my stories it would be a dream come true!

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