Wednesday, March 15, 2006
Quite by coincidence, following yesterday's article about depression in writers, I learn that Dr Steven Hendlin, a clinical psychologist based in California, has a periodic column entitled Your Write Mind, over at Backspace (on the left of the front page). Intended to address the psychological and emotional concerns of serious writers, the first article deals with writing what you want to write as opposed to writing what will (or might) sell.
Posted by Michael Allen at 8:50 am
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I think a complete change of thinking is necessary. There must be other ways of making money that leave a writer time to write what they are passionate about ... isn't that the joy of it, after all? It's like the mostly unrequited desire to ‘get published’ has robbed the writer of his/her joy, happiness, contentment - whatever you want to call it. And I actually think there would be some amazing works that emerge from writing with passion and no attention to ‘the market’. It doesn’t mean the output has to be bad quality either. In my view passion will always find like minds. Maybe there would only be a few readers, but they would be appreciative ones. And the digital market plus low-cost self-publishing opportunities could mean it is possible to reach those people … in a way that traditional print publishing, limited by publishing territories and other close-to-outdated processes might not do.
I haven’t worked out the ‘need to make money to live’ conundrum, but there is merit in creative grants for passionate writers, in my opinion.
It was the deeply fascinating Cyril Connolly who said the words I keep posted above my desk,
"Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self."
yes, but some of us write for the public and still have no pubic.
I'm still thinking about how writers can write based purely on passion (and talent) rather than having to make money. How about a type of organisation that runs like a charity, where people (individuals, arts patrons, writers' groups, businesses etc.) can sponsor a writer ... you know, get a picture to put on the fridge, and pay a small amount to the author each month, and you pick the author you want to sponsor based on samples of their work. Just an idea - throwing it out there to garner opinion ...
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