to elaborate on that last tweet: i’ve long and often struggled with the idea of asking for money for my writing. for years i wrote for film websites, putting real work hours into going to press screenings, interviews, film festivals, red carpet premieres, and writing up reviews, recording podcasts, and making youtube videos—all for absolutely no moolah at all. the very idea of getting paid seemed ludicrous. was i qualified to ask to be paid, not having a journalism or a film degree? i had no editorial oversight or feedback, so was my work even any good? who was i, a young nerd with no pedigree, to demand a fair wage for content made out of love - and what even is a fair wage in this industry?
(that’s still an ongoing conversation in the film writing community, by the way, though the field is beginning to change as more and more people are speaking up against this exploitative tactic, and film blogs are listening and starting to pay them. maybe we’ll have some sort of standard emerge soon. maybe not. time will tell.)
then comes my fiction writing, which i’ve been working on for years, also of course unpaid—because to publish a book, you need to first finish it. so all the work hours going into research, drafting, editing (and in my case, doing that five times over)… none of it’s ever going to be paid. if and when i get a book deal, i don’t expect to make nearly enough on any advances that will cover the work i’ve done over the course of eight years. it’s just the way things are.
(there’s a whole class-based argument around who can afford to write long projects like this for no money, obviously, but this newsletter’s already getting long, so i’ll leave it for another time.)
to see entire websites/businesses built on stealing people’s hard work for clicks and cookie revenue (which i’m ashamed to have contributed to; don’t click the first google results kids!!)… it brings up all sorts of complicated feelings, and it downright makes me furious. there’s no way to get sites like these booted off the internet, none that i know anyway. every time one makes something, writes a post, makes a video—the risk exists that someone else will try and make money off it, instead of you. it’s garbage.
i love the internet, but also sometimes i hate it. ya feel?
let me know your thoughts on this, as i’m sure a few of you are creatives with this same struggle. do you monetise your creative work? how and when did you go about it? and if you faced this sort of inner block, how did you overcome it? i’d love to know <3