Yesterday I was asked a question that caught me off guard. I was speaking to someone about my blog and they asked me "Do you get anything for that?". For a moment I was confused and then I realised they were asking me if I get paid. I answered no, and I could feel the confusion in their voice as we carried on to another topic of conversation but the question lingered in my mind.
It is a sad belief in our society that nothing is valuable unless we receive a cash payment for it. Being a stay at home parent is a prime example of that. I've been home with my children for nearly six years now and I have experienced this idea frequently. The only motivation we have in my family for me staying home is that we feel it is the most valuable and worthwhile thing I could be doing with my time. And while I don't earn a cash payment, our investment in our family this way has paid off quite well.
So why do I write on this blog? Well for me it's a way to exercise my writing skills. I have bigger projects happening as well but getting up in the morning and writing everyday for this medium is a way to practice my writing. Just as a morning work out makes one stronger physically so does this morning workout make my writing better. Plus, I want to do it and, in fact, I have to do it. It is the outlet for my creativity. It makes me very happy. It's also a connection to the world. I have "met" so many wonderful people through my blog, like-minded, interesting people, with wonderful things to say and experiences to share. I feel bless to have found this.
I recently stumbled upon another writer's blog, and her introductory post said something along the lines of "people are just going to have accept the fact that I'm a writer, that I like to write and paint pictures and that's what I 'm going to do". This is an echo of how I feel. I've been writing for years. I've never even attempted to get published. I have a children's book sitting on a shelf that I wrote 15 years ago waiting for an illustrator. I'll find one. I have found one. She's just not ready yet. I'm an artsy fartsy type girl and I've always been one. Those years in business were me being very far away from my true nature and I'm just now finding my way back.
One thing I've learned is how firmly my belief that you cannot deny your passion by pure will, that to do so will make you miserable and empty, is now ingrained in me. I've let go of all of the excuses for not writing because that's all they were and they were too much of a burden to carry. I'm not too busy, it's not a waste of time,I'm not bad at it(and even if I were so what?) and I don't care if I never see a penny for my writing. I think, like many people I had a fear of failure as well, a fear that I'm not really as good as my high school English teacher told me I was. Then I was exposed to the notion that there is no such thing as failure, there are only results that you can learn from and move on from. It's with that idea planted in my mind that I move forward.
Last night I had a Facebook conversation with an online friend who has a beautiful singing voice and she sent me an MP3 of an original song of hers. It's wonderful and I'd share it if I could figure out how. She's better than a lot of the really successful singers I see around today. She's planning on putting together a CD and when she does I'm going to buy the first one. She doesn't know if she'll make money from it but she feels she has to do it because she needs in her soul to make her music. I've told her she must and if she does I'm going to promote it right here on this blog because I know it will be wonderful!
I just ordered copies of a little keepsake book I've put together for my family featuring one of my short stories and some poetry. I'm very excited for them to come. I've sold some to family members at no profit to me but what I've created is priceless. My children and my grandchildren will be able to look at it after I've slipped out of my body and see a tangible reminder of my deepest self and know me a little better through it.
Someday I'd like to be paid to write full time. That would be the ideal. But that's not the motivating force that moves me to continue. It's a deeper, passionate love for creating stories and ideas and sharing them through words on the page. The rewards of just creating a body of work, even if no one ever reads a word until after I am gone, are worth their weight in gold and make me feel as rich as money ever could.