Today I thought I'd outline the perks associated with living the writer's life. Some of them are obvious but others less so.
1. You Get Your Name in Print
Obvious. The career writer knows that many people spend their entire lives trying to get to this, stage one, of the writer's life.
You never take it for granted. It's what you slave for, yes, it's what you want but, more, what you really want is your writing in print.
Having your words in print is like an endorsement of who you are. Somehow you matter. And that feels good.
2. You Get Recognition
There are two aspects of this. One, you get people coming up to you in the supermarket who know your name - which is kind of weird the first time it happens - actually every time it happens because it's easy to forget you're famous, especially if you're not very famous!
Two, you go places or call people and they say, "Yeah, I know you," and it takes you by surprise. It's like having a flag bearing messenger running ahead of you, breathlessly telling people you're coming - and you're some sort of dignitary, so they'd better listen to you!
3. You Get Respect
You come up with an idea and you write it down, send it out and you are taken seriously. This in itself is wonderful. Of course you still get rejections but when you've had a little success, people listen for longer, they consider your idea, they let you pitch it and don't treat you with contempt. They're considering your idea rather than just little old you - which is the position you've always wanted to be in.
4. You Get Royalties
Those checks come in and of course, it's never enough. Okay, so you don't have to go back to real work but, consider this:
Rich artists will attest that, the bigger the royalty check, the less it's about you.
A certain responsibility comes with success. You're not only doing what you do for yourself. There's all the administrators, marketing people and retailers that are relying on your creativity to pay their wages to consider. Plus the duty of integrity you owe to your readers.
Scary thoughts - especially if you only went into the game for yourself.
5. You Get to Sleep In
Can't beat it with a stick.
We all get those times when you wake up and don't feel like facing the world. When you're a successful writer - as in you get paid for what you do - it's okay to indulge in those luxuries once in a while. Ah, bliss.
6. You've Got No Boundaries
You get to define your own priorities. You get to plan your day, your week, your year, your life.
If you want to spend a couple of months working on a novel, you can. If you want to develop a movie project idea, you can. If you want to do nothing for a couple of days, you can.
Of course, there's always the commercial consideration. You have to be sure that some money will come from your ideas eventually - in the future or in the short term - but whether and when you work on them, well, that's your decision, your call.
Nice work if you can get it, as they say.
7. You Get to Speak
People want you to talk, to come to their venues and say something. This is very flattering, especially if they say they don't care what you talk about, as long as you're there.
You get to talk about yourself and answer questions they want to ask you. It's nice to get those opportunities because it's like, what else was I going to do?
And you're going to pay me too? Wow, that's pretty cool.
8. You Get Presents
It's something that goes back to the beginning of time. People give gifts to those they like or revere. It's a show of respect. It can be very disarming, especially when it's unexpected, which is pretty much all of the time!
9. You Get Fans
It's weird when people quote your own lines back at you, especially when you hadn't thought those particular lines were important.
You get people that tell you they've been following your career, that they have read everything you've written, that they are your number one fan. You smile, you say nice things and you hope you won't let them down.
It's hard sometimes because you're thinking, "Thank you, but I'm just me!"
10. You Get Holidays
At last, a perk that is serious fun, even if it doesn't happen too often!
People often assume that when you're a writer you're already living one long holiday, so why would you need to go away? Uh, well, it doesn't quite work like that...
Just because you're doing something towards your career every day doesn't mean you don't feel the need to get away sometimes.
The best thing is, within reason and prior commitments, you can just go, whenever and wherever you like. But of course, you'll usually find an excuse to make it work related too!
11. You Get To Claim It All Against Tax
If you're an artist, an actor or a writer, then it's assumed you're being that 24/7. Everything you think and feel is about your work. Everything you do is about your work. Therefore, everything you do - and buy - is, at least in theory, tax deductible. Yowzah.
I hope all of the above reasons will inspire you to pursue the writer's life.
If you're in any doubt as to your abilities to compete, take a good look at the people you regard as rich and successful. What have they got that you haven't?
Talent? Good looks? Luck?
Nah, it's all about commitment - and the courage to believe.
(c) Rob Parnell