Saturday, September 29, 2007

Where does it become self-employment?

Continuing on the same track as yesterday's vent, I think that one of the reasons that people do not respect the schedules of writers is the simple fact that they do not consider them to be actually working.

Sometimes this is just because people do not know how hard working a writer actually is. They think that we only write when the mood stucks us, and that the muse takes care of it all. They forget about the chores of revising, market research and getting the muse to show up in the first place.

(There is language I would like to use about that last part, but young impressible minds might be present. For that matter, old impressible minds might be present, not to mention those who would instantly condemn me for using such language. I am not sure what the muse might think about it--I have never asked her--and it is not like she doesn't already know my opinion.)

The perfect illustration of how hard the average person thinks writing is lies in the party trick of announcing that you are a writer. Note the comments you get, the average person thinks being a writer is glamourous. It is glamourous provided that you consider hanging out at home with your cats, cursing the gods for making you a writer, and staring at a blank page glamourous. Personally, I don't. I consider grave diggers to have more glamour in their existence than the typical writer.

Oh yes, there are writers who go to parties, rub elbows with the Dali Lama, and have security guards. The closest thing I have to a security guard is the neighbor's dog. Bottom line is that I am not J. K. Rowling, or any of the other writers that the patrons of the shopping mall can name off the type of their head.

(I dare the gods to give me that type of fame--I promise to use it wisely and only say nice things about the state of the United States government or whatever the pet peeve of the day is.)

Plus there is always someone at the party who will walk up to you and offer to share a great book idea with you if you give them fifty percent of the proceeds. Obvivously, this is someone who does not realize that writing is hard work (having the idea is the easy part) and believes all writers are loaded. Fortunately, most people seem to realize that writers live off of ramen noodles which unfortunately illustrates my next point.

People don't seriously think that you are working unless you are making money. And a lot of money. By IRS standards, I am self-employed. To everyone else, my income is too low to consider me anything other than an unemployed college student. My work schedule is spent goofing off and avoiding real work as far as they are concerned.

Take my wife for instance (I call her my wife due to common law and the fact that I won't put up with this from anyone else--ahh, isn't love grand), today there was that conversation that ran along the lines that she was making $400 a month (working twenty hours a week) while she was in college the first time. Therefore she doesn't consider me gainfully employed until I hit that mark.

It makes me wonder if she would hold that stand if she knew that I was considering becoming an adult webmaster. The pay is better than I make as a writer. And they do seem to get invited to better parties. But would she be willing to call that gainful employment no matter how much money I was making? I doubt it.

In the end, I guess all that a writer can do is continue to grind one's teeth. That and stand on a corner begging people to buy your books. As for the respecting of one's work schedule, I suggest insanity--after all, it does seem to work for the bums downtown.

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