I don’t want to be a writer anymore
I used to write a lot when I was younger. I first learned to type in the fourth grade, and, amazingly, it was on a typewriter. For any of those out there that don’t know what a typewriter is, well, I hate you.
Once I mastered the keys, I started writing short stories. I would share them with my family and friends, and obviously they loved them. Nobody wants to be the one responsible for ruining a child’s dreams. I was even an editor for my high school newspaper. Once again, for those of you that don’t know what a newspaper is, I hate you.
I even wrote for fun when I was in college, but nothing too serious. I had no desires back then to get published, or for people to give me meaningless likes on my social media pages. My vanity was never that desperate. I just wanted to graduate and get a job so that I could finally move out of my parents house. And, I did. Mission accomplished.
Fast forward ten years later…
For the last ten years, I have led a mediocre existence. A prisoner to my job, a failure to my ego, and a disappointment to my younger time traveling self, if such a thing were even possible, and I truly hope that it is not. My job was monotonous. Same thing, day in and day out. No adventure. No passion. Absolutely no fun. But, it allowed me to be a part of this whole being an adult thing that I always hear everyone raving about.
So, to help with the doldrums of my daily life, I started writing again. But this time I wanted to try and do it for real. Like actually try to get paid for my writing. A very bold dream, I know. But hey, that’s still allowed, right? We were always taught to go after our dreams, or at least I was.
So, I did what every eager writer tries to do. Self-publish a book on Amazon. Cut out the middle man. No agents.
I’m laughing now, but I can still hear myself preaching that ridiculous propaganda in my head. But time always has its special way of making things real.
I spent hundreds of hours on my first book. I was so excited when it was finally done. My dreams were finally going to start coming true. I would finally be able to do something that I was passionate about. There was a lot of finally in those days.
After a couple of weeks of no sales, you start to realize this writing thing is a lot harder than it looks. But I didn’t want to give up just yet. So, I started looking for writing jobs.
Next step — Freelancer.
Freelancer is supposed to be a great site for professionals and amateurs alike. You bid on jobs (and yes, this does cost money), and then you theoretically get selected to do all sorts of writing jobs (blogs, articles, social media, reports, EBooks, etc.). I have several complaints about this site, but I really only want to focus on one particular aspect that was quite troubling to me. It was less about the site, and more about the people posting jobs.
When did writing become so undervalued?
People are asking the writers on Freelancer to complete a 50,000 page EBook for a grand total of $175, and that was one of the higher offers. Usually people offer like $20 for $10,000 words. For me to write a 50,0000 page EBook, creating characters, dynamic story lines, and also voluntarily giving up all credit for my story after I am done, $175 is no way worth it. But yet several people were still bidding on the project.
If I was good and wrote about a 1000 words an hour, fully edited, it would take me 50 hours to finish that book. And you have to remember this is not just data entry. You are not just copying text from one platform to the other. You are creating something unique in the universe. Something from inside the majestic labyrinth of your soul. You are breeding life into characters that previously did not exist. You are transforming realms and landscapes with the mere power of your consciousness. You are molding random words and letters into emotions and memories. In the world between the pages, you are a god. So for that, with my estimated hours of work, I would make $3.50 an hour. That would be great if we were still living in the 70’s, but not so much now. My coffees cost more than $3.50.
But more importantly than the abominable slave labor wages and the utter disrespect for the art of writing, you would never get to stake claim to your masterpiece. Someone else, for eternity, would get that honor.
And even after all of this, I still enjoy writing. Perhaps I’m crazy. At least that’s what the voices in my head keep telling me, but they’re all idiots anyways.
So for now, I don’t want to be a writer anymore. I simply want to be a slave.