Shakespeare gots to get paid, son
A couple of weeks ago, Lilith Saintcrow had an interesting post about being an artist, and it was a bit of a rant against the people who insist that a true ARTEESTE doesn’t make money off their work. I mentioned this in chat with a friend today, and she said “I really hate it when people try to define what is or isn’t an artist […] like, oh yeah, totally have to be poor alcoholics that starve and suffer for their masterpieces.” Which, yeaaaah. Ceiling Cat forbid writers make money doing something they love, something they’re good at. Clearly they’re just selling out! The same goes for musicians who sign to a major label, or actors who go from indie darlings to mainstream megastars. They’re filthy sellouts who should be shunned! SHUUUUUNNNNNNN!
The post I made earlier today goes the other way. “Why are you writing if you’re not trying to get published?” is a REALLY FUCKING ANNOYING QUESTION, universe. And I get it all the time. To people who write, be it fanfic, or original fiction that they’re not necessarily shopping around to agents, I can just say “I write to get the stories out of my head, because it’s getting cluttered in there.” But to people who don’t understand that, it’s hard to explain. “What do you mean, you’re just writing for yourself?” To me, that’s almost as ridiculous as people who say “I don’t read, I don’t have time for it” or “I choose not to read.” Because, you know, why would you possible do anything that’s not a way to make money? A hobby? That’s unthinkable!
And so it goes, between “why are you selling out?!” and “why aren’t you trying to get published?!” And writing is such a big part of my life, whether or not I ever do anything that I decide to submit, that I can’t just pretend I don’t do it. Right now, I’m supposed to be on holidays, and I’m so freaking bored that even reading isn’t really enough to take the edge off. The only thing that does is reading, but then I get people getting all up in my face about how “you really shouldn’t be such a loner!” and “you’re spending too much time on the computer!” and whatever else they go on about. I’M ON VACATION, I SHOULD BE ABLE TO DO WHATEVER I WANT.
And then there was a… really special blog from LKH about “why the book is kicking [her] butt right now.” What followed was a screed about how a TRUE writer suffers along with her characters, how she laughs with them when they’re happy, and feels as if she’s holding them in her arms when they’re sad.
At the end of the day I feel like the office should be a battlefield with my blood splashed across the keyboard, dripping from the monitor. There should be bits of skin and hair and flesh at the scene of the horror like a C.S.I. episode.
I DON’T EVEN KNOW. *hands*
Rend your shirts, writers! Beat your breasts! if there’s no blood on the keyboard and hair on the monitor, the scene is not done! Laurell can totally read another writer’s work and tell if they’re faking the emotions! Clearly, she’s going to be the savior of mankind when the robots find a way to successfully disguise themselves as human. We’ll simply have the suspected soulless robots submit a writing sample, and LKH, like an oracle of old, will scan the sample and tell us whether they’re human or not.
Seriously, though, I get what she’s trying to say. There needs to be a certain amount of emotional investment in your writing, because let’s face it, if you don’t care about your work, the readers probably won’t, either. But there’s a certain point, and LKH has passed that point a long time ago, where your emotional investment becomes unhealthy and all-consuming, and then it’s up to the rest of us to say STOP BEING ON MY SIDE because really, woman, stop acting like you’re the be-all and end-all authority on everything, stop being an asshole, and just plain STOP.
There was totally a point I wanted to make, and now I have to go breathe into a paper bag, as I usually do after a prolonged discussion of LKH.