The question that keeps cropping up for me this week is “what made you get into this writing business in the first place, anyway?”
Now, at the outset, let me state very clearly, while I might have spent a lot of time working at being a writer, I’ve yet to experience the so-called business side of this whole writing caper.
Ok, I tell a lie. Because today I got a price back from a lawyer, who was quoting me the cost of his services for looking over a publishing contract. This is for if and when the miraculous should occur and my novel should actually get picked up by a major publishing house in the near future.
The price quoted was somewhere between $1,650.00 – $2,750.00. It’s probably not that outrageous, I suppose. But, to be honest, I’ve never really considered that I would ever make anywhere near that kind of profit from anything I have written. Let alone that I could afford to pay a lawyer such a fee.
As an aside, not so long ago, I had to hold my tongue when an old friend told me he was hoping to get a $100,000 advance on his half-finished, debut sci fi novel. In the end, though, I decided that maybe I was the one who had been guilty of setting my goals too low all along. And that perhaps he was right to aim high. Whatever.
You see, within all this talk of money, I keep thinking about just why it is any of us choose to write at all. Because it can’t seriously be for the money. Washing windscreens at the traffic lights would provide a steadier stream of income, honestly. Well, in my case, at the very least, let’s say.
Anyhow, so there must be more to it. More beyond the mental masochism and intellectual vanity, that is. More beyond the crippling writer’s block and equally crippling alcohol consumption, as well.
And this week, I feel that I may well have experienced just what that “more” might be, in the form of the interactions I have had with other people in the context of my being a writer.
Really, I’m like everybody else. A dreadful mess of insecurities and inconsistencies, you know, the usual. But because I write, I am able to present myself to the world as being a very considered and (hopefully) erudite person. And, whereas, by contrast, in real life, where I can sometimes be quite reserved and self-conscious, depending on the situation, on the page, I can pass for self-assured, if not even downright witty and debonair.
What this means is that I can communicate my ideas and feelings far better when I write, than when I interact face-to-face with people. Which, in a fairly convoluted way, answers the initial question of why I got into this whole writing business to begin with. When I write, I can be the me I’d like to be. The real me.
Coz it sure ain’t for the damn Ben Franklins, I tellz ya! Ok, maybe just a little… 😉