This morning I had the pleasure of experiencing an amazing part of writing.
Developing meaningful plots? No.
Creating compelling characters like a cut-rate god? Nope.
Finally typing The End on the last page of a manuscript? Uh-uh.
Getting a brilliant flash of an Idea that you know will be amazing if only you can get it down? Fuck no, that happens five times a bloody week. The trick is training the little bastards to turn into something useful. And to not occur on a busy highway.
Opening your front door to find your lawn covered by a shrine erected to your characters with candles and rabbit bones and I Lurve U scrawled in blood and feces? Definitely not. That does sound pretty bad ass*, but, alas, outside of my experience.
No, dear friends, today was far more prosaic. No flashes of inspiration**, no huge tracts of word count, no perfect piece of Plot Spackle. But it was no less meaningful for that.
Today I got paid.***
Don’t look at me like that. You were expecting some realization about the essential majesty of all mankind? The beautiful contrast of a raindrop caught in the whiskers of an attacking cougar? Pass.
No, I got paid for a story, and I like it. Crass? Commercial? Selling out? Maybe. I’m okay with it. There is money in my bank account that was not there before, and it is a direct product of writing.
There’s lots of people out there who will claim that artistic integrity is the only reason to write, and everything else is worthless. And there’s a grain of truth in that. You should write things that you love and feel passionate about. You should look at your work and feel proud of creating it.
But you know what else is nice? When, after you’ve created something you love, someone else looks at it and says, I like this. Here, have some money for it. That’s not only legitimacy, that’s freedom, baby. That’s a cell phone bill or a mortgage payment or a night out, depending on your pay grade. That’s money you earned with your brain and your words.
Not that I’m exactly rolling in it from writing proceeds. I make a bit here and there. Definitely not enough to live on. I usually refer to it as beer money, and spend it as such. Nothing big, really. Pitchers and pizzas. Maybe dessert.
But that’s enough. And when I have that beer tonight, it will taste like victory.
*And creepy as fuck. But I’m not adverse to creepy. Hell, I’d probably feature it in a story, Misery-style.
**Yet. But I’ve only been up two hours as of this writing.
***Okay, artistic licence. Really I got notification that I will get paid when I see my editors next week. Still: mo’ money.