Recently, I took a new job. I had no choice. No offense, people, but as much as you seem to demand my advice, y’all don’t seem all that interested in paying for my wisdom! 😊
So, I did what writers and artists throughout history have had to do to support their creative work and, you know, stay alive:
I got a “real” job.
I’m in pretty good company. I mean, hey: Franz Kafka was an insurance clerk, and Anthony Trollope worked as a post office surveyor. At least my new editing job is vaguely related to literature, so I can feel like I’m still in the swing of things. Not every writer has that luxury.
The fact is, almost no writer these days can make a living at it. The world has changed, and people just don’t seem to think literature is worth much anymore. It’s sad, really—and not just because I, personally, want to make money doing what I love.
It’s also sad because it shows that our culture is dying.
I listened to a lecture series a few months ago in which the professor said that you know a society has become a thriving culture when some people are able to make a living as poets. Clearly, for modern America, those days are over, and those of us who are fighting to make literature important again have to “sell out” and do something else to keep ourselves afloat.
But I won’t complain. Much. A little bit of writing is better than none at all. And besides, in what other field can you successfully do your life’s work in just a few minutes (and one sentence) a day?
Hang in there, my fellow sell-outs. Maybe one day our world will bounce back from this decline and start treating us like the rare and noble jewels we writers are.