Rowyn (rowyn) wrote,

Writing as !Business

I read this article by Kristine Rusch about writers and pay.  I like Ms. Rusch's business writing quite a bit: she's generally sensible, knowledgable, and well-researched, although her math and assumptions are sometimes overly simplistic.


This particular essay was one of those where her assumptions struck me as especially ... peculiar.  Her chief assumption is that the goal for all writers is to maximize revenue from their writing. The implication is 'If you are writing, and you are not maximizing your revenue from writing, you are clearly an idiot.'
And I find myself imagining a World of Warcraft goldseller writing a rant about how these crazy people who are playing WoW and not selling the gold their characters earn!  What kind of idiots are they?  Don't they know that their efforts are worth money?  Don't they realize how many hundreds of hours they're throwing away for nothing?


Or a professional actor railing about the foolishness of amateur theatre: how could anyone perform in a production for free?  Don't they realize that acting is a business?


Do you suppose landscapers marvel at the ridiculousness of people who choose to tend their gardens for free? Or movie critics are astonished that people pay to see movies, and then tell other people what they thought of the film for nothing?


I'd guess that the average American devotes more than half his waking hours to activities that he doesn't get paid for and doesn't care about getting paid for.  There's nothing inherently foolish about doing something for free, and the fact that other people do get paid for the same activity doesn't mean you're an idiot. Your circumstances and goals may just be different.


ETA: lt's a bit unfair of me to single Ms. Rusch out on this -- she is, after all, writing about "writing as a business" and assuming that her audience is interested in making money by writing is fairly sensible -- that's her target audience, really.  Still ... it's worth examining assumptions, sometimes.

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Tags: philosophy
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