Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Riches Untold

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.

10 comments:

Double-Dolphin said...

Money isn’t the yardstick,
For all of man’s creation,
But a bit more of it,
Would improve my situation.

Hah! How about that? Not too good, but I can still rhyme?! My mother is a stay-at-home mom, which is fairly normal for her generation, in our part of the world. She feels very strongly that while housewives probably have the toughest job of all (and I agree), they are very undervalued, and not necessarily in purely financial terms. She says, if she was a working woman, she’d probably get a lot more respect, but at the same time, she wouldn’t be doing as much as she does right now. I don’t want to get into the rights and wrongs of it. But I think what a home-maker manages to do in the course of just one day is a true lesson in multi-tasking, and should be taught in management schools.

I write professionally for a website and a women’s magazine as a music critic, and get paid very well for it. It’s very fulfilling work, and it’s something I love to do, but my blog is something that’s much closer to my heart. I know it’s probably going to sound a little weird, but I don’t want to be paid for this kind of writing. I don’t want it to get tied down by deadlines, commitments, and the editor’s chokehold on content. I write because it’s fun to write, and I write what I care about, and what matters to me. The fact that you read it, and comment on it, is payment enough!

Breeze said...

I love it...and I know exactly what you mean.

As to the caring for a home and children being undervalued, it's not just with regards to the moms but also the amount that daycare providers receive as well. Caring for children just isn't seen as important work. There is lipservice paid but not much else.

and I so get what you say about not wanting to be paid for that kind of writing..there are certain limitations to writing for money for sure.

April said...

Great post. Really, I learned the "hard way" so to speak on following my dream. When I relegated music to a perpetual side project that always came last, I became more and more unhappy...feeling less and less like my true self. So putting my music back on my top priority list has had the complete opposite effect. You are welcome to post my music on your blog. There is a very cool wesbite where artists can post their original stuff...called virb.com It's basically a social network just for artists to share their work...whether it be music, photography, paintings, whatever. I am going to create an account and get some of my stuff up, then you can post a link to that if you like.

After being home with my kids for 5 years, then going back to work for almost a whole year, my husband and I both value having me home even more than we did before. The meager amount of cash I pulled in over this time period wasn't worth the stress to our family!

Double-Dolphin said...

@ April - you do music? So Cool!!! Can I hear some?

April said...

Yes, you can! Here is a link to my profile page on Virb.com I only have one song up so far but I have many more, and I will be putting them up soon. Let me know what you think too!
http://virb.com/alindfors

bukarella said...

First of all, I think it is interesting to note that someone would assume you get paid to blog. Made me giggle.
Second of all, I'm on facebook, as well, and I could use a friend such as yourself. :P
Come find me: Lyudmyla Mayorska. :)

Jen said...

Yes, being the person that you were 'meant' to be means following your heart.

Others, especially those that are motivated by money etc, cannot seem to grasp this concept...

I say GO YOU!!! Keep writing. Whilever it makes you happy.

Samantha said...

They say.. do what you love and money will follow! :)

I hear ya though- I LOVE to write and I would of course, love to get paid some day too!

~Billie~ said...

Sometimes the best projects - those that fulfill us, make us happy - are those in which we make no profit. I'm NOT a writer. Wish I was, but I'm just not that talented. I blog as an outlet. It's my space - to share and talk about whaterver "I" want to. =)

nollyposh said...

Thankyou for this post... i feel the same way... also about that daily need to 'connect' with myself... i have always done it, paper and ink, fingers and keyboard, it's all the same to me... That daily musing, helps me to define and express and sort through that stuff floating around in my head... and to meet wonderful people along the way is just a lovely added bonus X:-)