Thursday, January 03, 2008

Giving it away for free.

Recently, I posted about someone irritating me with a comment about how they were glad I wasn't writing anymore because, in a nutshell, I'm wasting my time.

I told myself I wasn't upset about it, but really? I was. I am.

I talked to my therapist, Big Jim, yesterday about the whole situation.

Big Jim, in addition to being the absolute best therapist in the entire universe, is also an amateur musician. He told me a few months ago that he had realized that most of the people who knew who were making a living as musicians were playing the same three songs over and over again all day at Dollywood. And those guys? Envied him. Because he could play what he wanted, when he wanted it, not play what the "man" wanted him to play, for money.

Okay, he didn't really refer to the "man". Big Jim has more class than that. Also? Big Jim likely makes a truckload of cash off the crazy people like me who come to see him every week, so playing for fun probably is something he can do.

So. Big Jim may be on to something.

At any rate, I talked to Jason last night about the whole thing and he said something like, "So why DO you write in this blog? People would pay to read what you write. Why do you give it away for free?"

As a huge disclaimer? He's never, ever read my blog or anything I've written. Ever. Except for like, loves notes and assorted crap like notes that say, "FOR THE LOVE OF GOD COULD YOU PLEASE DRY OFF THE BATHROOM FLOOR AFTER YOU SHOWER OR AT THE VERY LEAST STEP ON THE ATTRACTIVE DECORATIVE BATHMAT I HAVE LEFT HERE FOR YOU? FAILURE TO DO SO WILL RESULT IN YOU NOT SEEING ME NAKED EVER, EVER AGAIN! Love you! Chick" So really, he has no way to gauge if this is actually true or not.

So I told him that I had been sending things off to magazines and whatnot. And that even if I ever did find someone who felt sorry enough for me to publish what I write? I'm not likely to be the next J.K. Rowling. That sometimes, the ability to create is enough.

Sometimes, it's enough.

So I'm not giving up on my goal of being published this year. I'm not. But yesterday Big Jim told me that it used to be, especially in the arts world, that being an amateur was far more revered than being a professional. Because if you are a professional, you have to conform, and be commercial. If you are an amateur, there is more feeling behind it. More love, more emotion. It comes from inside you and it's exactly what you want it to be, because you are doing it merely because you want to, not because you are trying to make someone else happy.

And, hey, if you make someone else happy in the process? That's pretty cool too.

But I think it's okay just to be who I am.

I've never called myself a writer. Somehow referring to myself in that way sounds pretentious to me. But I'll call myself an amateur.

That sounds just fine to me.

36 comments:

CPA Mom said...

I call you a writer. An Awesome Writer - Jason is right, I WOULD pay to read your work. It's just a matter of time for you lady.

I call you a great friend as well.

Dawn~a~Bon said...

I think the better way to refer to you would be "Natural-Born Storyteller," because it doesn't matter if it's written or spoken, you tell the BEST, funniest stories. That's a gift.

J said...

I don't care what you call yourself, I call you awesome. You are an inspiration to us all. And if you became huge and famous and busy? You wouldnt have as much time for blogging, which could suck majorly. We love you, Chick. We support anything you want.

But mainly? We just love you.

frannie said...

you know that is why so many people abosolutely love to watch college ball-- because they are playing for the love of the game-- not the love of the millions they are paid, or the love of the hookers that come with the job. the love it and it shows.

Alpha Dude 1.5 said...

You can call yourself anything you want. I will (and I am honored to say so) always call you "Friend".

You got it goin' on in more ways than you know.

Blessings.

nailgirl said...

No chica you are a writer just like me.

Karen and Bill said...

You are definitely a writer. No matter what the vehicle, you blog, you write, you are funnier than hell. You ARE a writer. Amateur writer perhaps (no money equals amateur status) but writer nonetheless. Hey, maybe we could do a Writer Olympics, where the best writer, second best writer, and third best writer in different categories get medals. And you have to be an amateur. Because just because you don't get paid for something, doesn't mean you aren't good. And you are. Good. At least at writing. Whether or not you are "good" as opposed to being "bad" is between you and your therapist. And I'm so glad you're doing Blog 365. Because I get my Chick fix every day. Yay! :-) And shame on Jason for not reading your blog! What's up with that?!? Or do you tell him that he can't read it so you can say stuff about him? You know, that's really not a bad idea. I have to word everything I say in my blog really carefully, because not only does my husband read it, but my sister-in-law does too. Must. Not. Dis. Relatives. LOL Thanks for the entertainment each and every day. Sorry for the lo-o-o-ong comment. Hugs, Karen

Morgan Leigh said...

I would call you a wonderful writer, as well. :)

You talk about the day to day life at your house, and you add humor into things, you would be a wonderful (don't get mad) chick-lit writer.

Just my opinion. I would pay for your stuff though, I would.

Angie said...

No matter what you call yourself, you just keep doing what you're doing. You are bringing joy and laughter to places where it is SO needed.

. . .and far as conforming. . . there are writing situations where one would have to conform. But, I think you're talented enough to be able to fully express yourself without having to conform to "the man" whoever the HELL the man is! : )

Jenty said...

I've only been reading your blog for a few days, but IMHO I think you're a talented writer. I aspire to write like you do.
And please don't stop blogging!!

Kimberly said...

What a beautiful insight. Thanks, Chick. I really needed that right now.

Tulip Girl said...

You? Are a writer! And? You will get published!

Wenderina said...

What a great thing to hear. He managed to both encourage you to recognize self-value and not have it defined by commercial expectations, while still providing you with some confidence that you can be published. I think you've got a great helper in Big Jim.

mom 2 3 said...

I can't pay you, but if I could I would. You write wonderfully and Big Jim sounds like my kind of guy. And he sure is on to something. It is only January 3rd, the year is young, the article that you will publish hasn't even been written yet. Keep the faith. And for Gods sake KEEP WRITING here!!

Adventures in Baby Fat said...

Big Jim sounds like one smart cookie!

As far as what to call yourself, I get what you're saying. When you say, "I'm a writer," it feels inside like you're wearing someone else's clothes. And even though the clothes fit nice and smell nice and make your butt actually look luscious instead of square, well, sometimes it's a little uncomfortable because you doubt yourself. I do the same.

I say this year we make it a goal of honestly attempting to love ourselves as much as others do because, seriously, Chick, you rock way more than you tell yourself that you do. Way more.

Tiger Lamb Girl said...

Chick, listen to me. I'm serious when I say this. I'm not into sycophantic props just because I happen to like someone. You've put it out there and comments are open - so know that when I leave a comment - it's honest.

You're a good writer.
I'm not kidding, joking, sucking up, bullsh1tting, or trying to 'make you feel better'.

Just remember this, though. If you believe the good stuff people say - then you're liable to believe some bad stuff. I'm just saying this in a general sense. Find your worth. And realise it's NOT in ANY way dependant on what OTHERS think.

But still - I think you rawwwwwwk!

Anonymous said...

I think you completely suck.

JUST A MOM said...

Music,, Writing,, QUILTING I GET IT!!

Karen and Bill said...

Dear Anonymous:
Gee what a creative comment. Never heard that one before.

Chick, did you know you completely suck?!? Not just partially, not just occasionally -- Anonymous thinks you COMPLETELY suck! Wow, what a vicious vocabulary that one has, eh? Rips you to shreds, doesn't it? Gee, you may never show your face in public again, let alone blog ever, ever again.

Wow. Gotta admit, that one hurts.

BWWWAHHHHAAAAA!

I think Anonymous sucks infinity. Whaddaya think of that, eh?!?

(Can ya hear the sarcasm? Can ya? I hope so. I doubt Anonymous will get it, what with that massive brainpower, and all. Geesh!!)

Karen and Bill said...

*snciker*

Dawn~a~Bon said...

Anonymous 7:07, you're so awesome, will you be my friend? Please? PLEASE??? You can give me tips on how to stalk my ex's significant others! Then maybe I can be almost as cool as you and tell people that they suck! Completely suck, even!

Joy T. said...

I would continue to read you no matter what you called yourself. Because I believe you will be the writer you want to be.

Lisa said...

JK Rowling, probably not.

Augusten Burroughs, a definate possibility.

Edie said...

I think you are an AWESOME amateur! Keep up the good work. :)

SJ said...

I think you have an awesome talent and I think you should go for it!


Really. I do.

dennis said...

Congratulations!

All the Best for 2008!

Jocelyn said...

Big Jim is a Mack Daddy of Truth. I love the perspective he gives--you ARE a writer, you should keep working towards being published, but you should revel in the freedom you have in this venue.

Joey said...

Honestly Chick?

You're my favourite writer.

I've been wondering for a while now why you give away the . . . well. every single metaphor i tried to come up with ended up vaguely insulting, so I'm just going to say that I think that if you took your last 352345324 or how ever many posts, edited them, and submitted them, you might have a chance, even if it were only a tinsy one of getting published.

love your show!

everaftermyway said...

I love your writing! You are very talented.

Sarcasta-Mom said...

You ARE a writer, a great one, and I love reading your blog. It always puts a smile on my face (except when you write about serious things). Thanks for giving it away for free. I sure appriciate it!

jenski said...

I wish Big Jim was my therapist! He sounds pretty good.

I love reading what you write (even though I just started)! Maybe you should put together a memoir called "Jason, for the love of God." I would totally buy that, among other things.

KiKi said...

At the end of a long day - no matter how rough it was or how hard things get, I know I can count on you to lift my spirits, whether from a hearty laugh or touching story. And that? Means everything in my book.

Sue said...

Come on - you already know you have skills. Now - sell 'em!

my4kids said...

I agree with Big Jim. Seriously then you can say what you want and do what you want with it and not worry about how it's going to be taken, no conforming to the masses. Don't conform Chick, but keep writing I love what you have to say and seriously even that above being said if you wrote something and got published? I would totally read it. Don't let what your mom said get to you. She should know better, obviously she doesn't...

EE said...

You are so a writer!!!!

Rachel said...

I think you are a great writer! I absolutely love reading what you write. And, Jason is right, people would definitely pay.