Writers: Don't Heed Samuel Johnson's Advice

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Today I read the latest post at Don't Publish Me: "If You're In It For the Money."

(Go follow Jenn on Twitter.)

It made me realize that many people out there still wave the flag for the old Samuel Johnson adage: "No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money."

Really? Are we really still blindly following the advice of an Anglican man of letters from the 1700s?

Many of us are. We've been trained over and over and over and over again: Money flows TO the writer, not AWAY from the writer.

While I don't believe writers should pay for the opportunity to get published (you can publish yourself digitally for nothing—though you might not get read), earning a real living from your writing is reserved for those with sales and marketing ability, and a willingness to bend to commercial demands.

You can read a much more elegant and well-considered treatise on this money issue over at Ditchwalk, "The New Money Flow."

There are many reasons to write: to be understood, to make our mark on the world, to spread a message bigger than ourselves, to leave something for family and friends to remember us by, to get fame or attention, to be loved, to share and collaborate, to investigate and think more deeply.

Do it because you can't do anything else.


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