“Those who move mountains begin by carrying away small stones.” –Chinese Proverb
I’m sitting here today not knowing what to write, only knowing that I promised myself I’d blog every day.
Why did I promise that? I want to see what shows up.
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about writing and money, as I’ve often paired writing and money. I got my first writing/editing job at age 27, 20 years ago. Ever since then, I’ve made money using this skill.
And I’ve beat my head against the wall, wondering how to make more.
I’ve loved writing poetry because it’s never been tied to money. I write it easily and well and love the connections that come from sharing it. I send it out into the world via a simple email list and sometimes people email me back their thoughts. Simple. Delightful. Building more connection with people I already know. I’ve made $25 from publishing poetry. I’ve send out very few poems and have about a 75% acceptance rate. Amazing. Easy. Hardly any money changing hands.
I’ve written articles for pay and the articles serve various populations and I love knowing I’m helping to educate people. Or helping readers cry so they can be in close touch with their bothersome emotions. I’ve been an editor and a writing coach and a teacher and a tutor and I love all that. Because: better pay and good connections.
Money. Talking about money is not my strong suit. Tying my writing to money is hard. If I talk to other writers about this, they totally understand. And they congratulate me for actually having made money off of this pursuit. It’s not easy to do that in our world right now.
Small stones. What?
I’m trying to separate writing from money in my mind, taking the judgment out of the equation. I’m trying to be better friends with the whole idea of money. I can only do this by carrying away small stones. I’m carrying away my preconceived ideas about money and work and the world’s approval and my approval. It’s exhausting and tiring, which is why I’m thinking of it as moving small stones. That way I know I can do it, change my mind so it’s easier on my art, what I love. So I can see the parts I really love: the actual writing; interviewing people; the connections writing brings; sharing information and causing tears for the readers of my work.
Small stones. Day four of November, Year 47 of my life. 20 years after I became a professional writer and editor. Whoosh. Carry on. See you tomorrow.