Welcome to Writer Rants–where every Friday a writer just lets loose on whatever the heck is bugging them this week. Enjoy.
I’ve always wanted to write, but I never wanted to be a writer, if that makes sense. I truly love writing. It’s the only thing that made me feel like I had a gift, like it’s something I’m supposed to do. But I was always hesitant to enter the world of professional writing. Part of it was a lack of confidence in my ability, but more than anything, I didn’t want to spoil writing for myself. I didn’t want writing to become merely a way to get paid.
And yet, here we are.
I’ve made it as a freelance writer. I have my own clients, I make good money, and to be frank, I’m damn good at what I do. But that success comes with a price tag.
I started my writing career as an unpaid writer for a video game site. I gave that up. After that, I became a hockey blogger. I don’t do that anymore, either. I had designs on writing a book and working on new writing projects. Those are on perpetual hiatus.
What do all of these things have in common? They don’t pay. At least, not in the short term. Why go through the effort of starting a new site and building an audience, when I can churn out content for one of my clients and make some money in the process? Why return to my old stomping grounds when there are people that will pay me for the same type of work?
I’ve sold out. I’ve become what I despise. And I’m not the only one, either. A lot of writers are in the same predicament in which I find myself. It’s a blessing to make money writing but, at the same time, it’s a curse. The reasons why I write now are not the factors that made me fall in love with the art of writing.
The funny thing is, I’m a much better writer than I was in those halcyon days where I dreamed of receiving pennies for my words. On my worst day, I can write circles around my former self. But what if I could take what I’ve learned and use that to reconnect with the writer I used to be — to merge the past with the present and create an awesome future. Imagine that!
As writers, we all have the potential to do exactly that. It’s not the solution that will result in the biggest paycheck. It’s not something that will further your career. But spending some time writing for yourself is the best reward you can give yourself. It’s a show of respect for the dreamer who got locked in the closet in the name of financial gain.
I’ve been writing more for myself lately. It’s a throwback to the way things used to be. Just me and my laptop against the world. It’s been great. And in a neat twist of fate, it hasn’t impacted my earnings at all. If anything, I’ve made more because the quality of my work has increased. It’s the best of both worlds.
Every writer deserves to love writing. It’s easy to lose your way, but it just makes finding your way back all the more exhilarating. When you reconnect with the writer you used to be, you’ve got the potential to create something really special.
Bryan B is a freelance writer based in Long Island, N.Y. He is passionate about bad movies and bad puns, and he still thinks pro wrestling is real.