Consider tipping a writer!
I happen to live in a country that doesn’t tip. Well, at least not in the way that Brits and Americans are used to. You are always welcome to tip for really, really great service — anytime and in any industry. But the “service” charge is included at restaurants here in France. Sometimes people “round up” by leaving some coins but mostly, tipping is relegated to where it belongs: the domain of really great service, not an expectation imposed upon everyone. And if more people like Danny Meyer succeed, one day that expectation will go away too. But that’s a discussion for another day.
In fact, in many coffee shops in America, people tip out of expedience. They hate carrying change around (in America the coins mostly in use are less than $1 in value, and so aren’t considered very valuable in bulk) and are only too happy to drop their change into jars with varying levels of cute sayings. And what are these people doing for you? They are grinding coffee beans, putting them into an Italian machine, and pushing a button so that hot water can create a delicious beverage. They didn’t grow those beans. They didn’t even invent the drink. They just make it.
Yes, they might make it with love, like this one at one of my favorite coffee shops in Paris. But I’m not arguing for you to stop tipping them. I’m asking you to think about tipping writers.
Why? Well, why are you tipping the barista? Because you have some spare change and its easy. Not because he/she made you the best coffee ever. This is ostensibly because 95% of people tip BEFORE they’ve even gotten their coffee. It’s pre-emptive tipping! So, it’s easy but undeserved, perhaps. That’s not wrong.
But what about the writer in the digital world? He/she reads, observes, reflects, and then hopefully distills those life reflections into bites and morsels of wisdom. It’s not the simple process of grinding beans and pushing a button — indeed, it’s far more complicated. After reading a great piece, can you grip your virtual change and throw it into a tip jar? Not as easily as you can at the coffee shop, but thanks to sites like Patreon, these days you can indeed.
So, the next time you find something that really contributes to your intellectual life, please consider giving that writer a small tip. Unlike the random cup of great coffee, a great piece of writing can truly change your life.
Stephen Heiner is a writer and entrepreneur living in Paris, France. If you like what he wrote here and want to see more, click on his Patreon page, and if you feel like it, drop some coins in his tip jar. Also, since this is Medium, please click “recommend” if this post contributed to your intellectual life or feel free to respond with major disagreements. He’s looking forward to engaging with you.