Earlier this week while surfing the internet aimlessly, I came across some writing posts that got me thinking. In her recent Facebook post, author Elizabeth Gilbert, had this to say about creativity and money:
“Please understand that I have NOTHING against people wanting to make money out of their art. I always wanted to make money out of my art, I always strived to make money out of my art, and now I do make money out of my art, and I am grateful as hell. . . .The reason I always maintained other streams of income was because I never wanted to burden my creativity with the task of providing for me in the material world.” ~ Elizabeth Gilbert
My writing focus has always been on creative expression (and proving that I could do it), rather than an effort to build an income stream. Not that I’d turn my back on having successfully published books generating royalties, but I’m lucky enough to have a day-job to provide financial stability so that writing can be my passion, not something I have to do. I appreciate the freedom that gives me.
I recently got a new boss at work and when she found out I was a writer, she had all kinds of ideas about new writing-related projects I could work on. While I didn’t say “no” – she was excited (and I’m not an idiot) – I did wonder whether making writing part of my job would take the “fun” out of it? I guess I’ll find out when I finish the script I’m working on our new department video. 🙂
What happens though, when you do need your writing to provide an income? A couple of posts from friends of mine who have been doing a lot of freelance writing work to make ends meet provide some insights:
“I’m learning a lot about writing when I’m not feeling it. When you’ve promised to produce 30,000 words a week you have to write in every spare moment. Want to or not.”
“It’s a different game writing for $ and on a deadline.”
Ack! 30,000 words a week? It took me 2+ weeks to hit 15,000 and I was on a roll then. We’ve talked about motivation here and here in recent weeks and freelance deadlines certainly seem like strong motivation for writing, whether you’re in the mood or not. If nothing else, when writing is a job, it forces you to set a schedule and follow-through. After all, if you don’t, then you won’t get paid. I have to wonder though, how the pressure to get paid impacts creativity, either negatively or positively.
Out of curiosity, I went to a random freelance writing site to see what kinds of projects people were looking for in the “creative writing” space. Here are a few sample jobs:
- “I am looking for a long term ghost writer to write fiction stories on various topics that I will provide. Generally 10,000 – 20,000 words each.”
- “I am looking to hire a ghostwriter to write hot erotic stories, 4,500-6,000 words each.”
- “I’m looking to team up with a romance novel writer for the long term. (8,000 – 10,000 words)“
- “We are looking for a talented writer to provide us with the first & last lines of 200 different stories.”
That last one sounded kind of fun and, judging by the number of writers who responded with bids, I’m not the only one to think so. Looking at the job postings, I had to wonder why someone would chose to ghost write for someone else rather than publishing under their own name. I didn’t have to look far to find an answer to that:
“Money in publishing is slow . . . When I ghost I get paid on delivery.” ~ Kate George
A very valid point. I’m very curious about how profitable the freelance writing business is for those that are doing the hiring. Obviously they must be making some money at it or there wouldn’t be so many prospective job listings – right?
So, have you ever done (or would you do) any freelance or ghost writing?