WARNING: This piece isn’t supposed to come out embellished with flowery language and obedience to the grammar rule of writing. I will battle with both first and third person pronoun throughout. I am guilty.
You might be quick to differ with the title but I speak for the passionate creatives who are being exploited and the only thing that keeps them going is their passion. I write for the young writers, poets, rappers, painters, fashion designers and bloggers who are often hit with the “I WILL GIVE YOU EXPOSURE” crap.
“I don’t write for money. I write because it’s my passion. It’s what makes me red ”
How stupid could I have been less than two years ago? It was until I couldn’t pay my fees with passion in my final year at the University that I realized I have been doing this passion thing all wrong.
But that was my principle; writing because it was my passion and made me happy. Happy wasn’t enough when you could be happier or even happiest.
“Grow up and you’ll get your freedom”, they said. It’s a trick. You only grow up so they get freedom from you. Freedom from not having to care much about you. Freedom from knowing you’re old to take good care of yourself. And not so much freedom from choosing between money and passion.
In the past months that I’ve been away from this blog, I’ve been writing. Writing for money. And this has led to a personal battle with myself. Limitations have been placed on my creativity. And the love of money clouds my writing.
Writing because it’s your passion is when you have to be in the mood to write. When you have to be inspired by situations and happenings around you. When you drive past a tree and you bask in the beauty of how freely the birds fly from branch to branch. When you see that beautiful girl across the street and suddenly you have four paragraphs in mind. When you meet with friends over the weekend and they leave with stories you could write for years. That was when you write because you are in the mood and feel like writing.
And there is the part where you have to write because you have to write. When you have no options of choosing between when to or how to but the only thing for sure is you have to write because you have been paid to write. It builds a sense of betrayal and clouds your judgement on what’s creative and what’s not because you have to meet the deadline. And the faster you finish, the more jobs you get. That is when you start writing for money. You are not a hundred percent in control of the outcome.
And your creativity is mocked. You submit the work to a client and he becomes an armchair editor and tells you what to take out or add just to meet his demand. Creative or not, you don’t have the final decision.
When you get to this stage, you miss the days you had to break all the rules in writing just to explore how fun being free with words work. I still do my best to pitch my work to clients, to make them understand I still have some sort of ownership and authority to the work even though I have been paid. Once a work is going out with my name on, it should be great.
Writing for money hasn’t made me less of a creative. I just miss the days I had to write because I was in the mood or had to be inspired but now I write because I have to write and my biggest inspiration is money.
I read what I write and I’m not happy but when a client can’t hide their happiness over a work, I remember I was paid for the work and the money makes me happy too. It’s simple, my happiness doesn’t necessarily depend on the work now. It depends on my client’s happiness and money.
It will take time to make money from whatever you are doing but you will only be bought at the price you sell yourself. Don’t let passion drive you to accepting the “EXPOSURE” tune. Whatever your creative work is, it won’t go stale with time. And while you make money from your passion, don’t compromise on your creativity.
I’ll post here soon. I don’t know when but sooner than the Bible’s soon in respect to Jesus’ second coming. Until then, I will be busy…busily writing for money.