There exists, for everyone, a sentence – a series of words – that has the power to destroy you. Another sentence exists, another series of words, that could heal you. If you’re lucky you will get the second, but you can be certain of getting the first.
Philip K. Dick – VALIS
[Full Disclosure: My first idea for a title of this post was “I got 99 Problems, but a Ditch Ain’t One (Because I’ve Already Been Digging It)”. I am a terrible human.]
It’s been a while since I posted any writing advice or resources, so let me rectify that now. Near the end of last year I got onto Mur Lafferty and Matt Wallace‘s podcast Ditch Diggers. Now, whilst I’m sure there are a hundred podcasts out there related to writing, the thing I like about Ditch Diggers is the way they aproach writing as a job – a job that you should be paid for.
Amongst some writers and readers, there seems to be an expectation that you should only ever create something for the love of it. Now, I see where they’re coming from, because a mercenary approach to art is how we end up with awful film novelisations, tired tie-ins, lacklustre (or downright terrible) film remakes. But on the flip-side, one day I would like to write for a living – so, until we get Universal Basic Income, that means considering the financial aspect of writing – and also, if I create something that has value, why shouldn’t I expect to be paid?
Or, in other words, Fuck You, Pay Me.
I opened with that quote (or maybe paraphrase?) from VALIS to illustrate a point about the merit and beauty of art versus the reality of making a living. That is to say: of course I want to write stories and books that resonate with people, that contain a single line that could heal a person, but I’m not there yet, and I might never get there. But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t write. That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t publish. And that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t get paid while I continue honing my skills in whatever form or genre I choose to write in.
Anyway, Ditch Diggers. Subscribe to it wherever you get your podcasts from, and if you go back through the archives, might I recommend:
- Episode 36 with Cassandra Khaw
- Episode 34 with Kameron Hurley
- Episode 26, which is largely a discussion between Kameron and her agent – Hannah Bowman.