The Gratitude of a $6 Writer
I can’t express it enough.
I adore the 21st Century. Really, I do. It’s not just that I’m Type I Diabetic, and in any other era I wouldn’t have made it to my teenage years — that is, admittedly, a significant part of it. But it feels like in the great and glamorous now anyone can be anything, can accomplish whatever they wish, if they want it enough.
What I’ve always wanted to do is write. It’s a lifetime quest, ill-fulfilled. I can’t even show you journals full of graphite dust as proof that an attempt was made. Yet despite the all but deliberate lack of trying, I’ve now been paid for my writing.
All thanks to a little website (and app) called Medium.
Medium markets itself as a place that rewards writers based on the quality of their writing. I doesn’t matter if you’re well known or just starting out; Medium will reward you based on your engagement, just like anyone else.
There’s issues with this argument, of course. People with followers elsewhere can redirect them to Medium and get a leg up on individual writers. People who intentionally write something controversial may be rewarded for it, as people “engage” with the article to say that it is wrong.
Still, no system is perfect, and as a virtual unknown who has never been paid to write, I appreciate the attempt. I like the idea of being paid what I’m worth, or as close as anyone can get to it.
Even if that worth appears to be about $6.
I’m not talking about $6 per article either, by the way. I’m saying in the last two months, aka ever, I’ve been paid $6 overall.
And I can’t speak for anyone else, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
To fully understand what I’m saying, you need to know that I am fairly poor. I’m poor as all get out, if we’re being honest. Enough so that if I was being paid $6 a post, I’d be putting one out every day and calling it a miracle. It would be terribly nice to make more money at anything.
Yet, still, I am proud to be a $6 author.
It’s a solid number, six. Not much — it’s definitely got room for improvement. But it’s not nothing. It’s not a penny, or the price of gum. If somebody smacked you with $6 worth of change, you’d take notice.
I don’t want to stop at $6, but I also hope I never take that for granted. Whether I give up writing tomorrow or make a million on it someday, I hope I appreciate every last dollar and cent. I hope I always value it, whether it’s hard or its easy.
$6 shouldn’t make a difference to me, in the long run or in my pride. It’s not a lot, at the end of the day. But there’s a part of me that never believed I’d make any money writing, and to me, this is a benchmark. Without it, I’ll never know what kind of writer I am. I’ll never be able to see my own growth.
Maybe I’ll get real ambitious and shoot to be a $14 dollar writer someday.
$6 is traction. The deposit statement on my bank account is an actual, tangible, real life handhold. Even my ambitious self is satisfied, because it’s proof that I’m climbing. It’s a benchmark to hold me accountable if I forget to work, and let go. It’ll be a cause for celebration, when I make $7 in a month. And while part of my pride hopes that will be soon, I’m also just excited to be able to say right now: I am a $6 writer.
What are you?