Back in the day, I wouldn’t think of writing without financial remuneration (except in my journal, of course). I mean, isn’t that what makes one a “professional”? If we get paid for what we do then we surely must be good at it, right? And if we’re writing, teaching, lecturing, or making cookies for nothing, then well, we must be a bit of an amateur. No?
Well, things have changed somewhat in the writing world, as in the rest of the world at large and I have come to realize that if I don’t write just for the love of it I may not be writing at all. If I don’t write just because I have to, want to, and am moved to, I will just be sitting here thinking negative thoughts like, “Nobody likes me, nobody wants me… wah, wah, wah.” In fact, although I still—surprise!—do get paid for some of my writing, there is plenty of writing I do these days (i.e. this blog and my blog at Huffington Post) for which no paycheck is forthcoming. Does this mean I should not write? No way!
Obviously, some of the best things we do in life have no financial reward. What we get paid to do, and what we do best—or with the most love--may be two separate things entirely. Without naming names, I’ll just mention a woman I know who is a topnotch lawyer. I’m sure she gets paid decent bucks for this. But in her free time she devotes herself to finding nurturing homes for homeless dogs and cats. Is the work that she does as an animal rescue volunteer any less valuable than her paid profession? Certainly not.
The notion that money and value are inherently related is outdated (and possibly never was really accurate). Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against getting paid for what I do or getting paid what I’m “worth.” But on the other hand, I’m not going to let lack of a paycheck hold me back from following my bliss. Yes, I have to “put food on the table” as the saying goes. But I also have to feed my heart, and if that means writing some stuff just for love then so be it.
Whether your gift or bliss is writing, healing, teaching, talking, playing the harmonica or standing on your head, I hope you will share it whether your reward is pennies, nickels, twenties, or a smile on your own –or someone else’s—face.