(Listening to Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders, 9/1/74, Berkeley)
Been thinking a lot these past few days about the realities of writing/publishing/making a living. I’ve come to the conclusion that there are three types of writers:
1. Writers who write because they can’t stop. It’s in them. Regardless of how rich or how poor they might be, they will always write. Most of these writers are broke. They don’t care, though. To do anything else would be unnatural, to say the least.
2. Writers who write to make a living. They are focused entirely on the product and the audience. They will write whatever sells, in whatever genre. There are a surprising number of writers who fall into this category. They have sacrificed the muse for the money, and they bring in a liveable income, hoping for that one big break to put them over the financial hump and give them a little breathing room as they work on the next 3 or 4 pieces simultaneously.
3. Writers who are a combination of the first two types. They are very rare. They understand both sides of the pen, where the business and marketing of their writing is as important as the integrity of preserving their artistic words.
I am trying to be writer no. 3, and it is extremely frustrating. I can’t sell my muse like the writers do in the no. 2 category. Yet, I am sensitive enough of my audience to fall strictly into the no. 1 column.
No. Definitely a no. 3. Well, trying to be.
Trouble is, there is no easy way to do it. I need a lot of support, a lot of networking, and a lot of luck.
I’m working on Cold Rock with this in mind. I will have it out by this summer, and then I’ll move on to Postcards from Carraway Station, a love/ghost story that spans 100 years.
But I will not sell my artistic soul for the money, nor will I play the role of the tortured artist who doesn’t try to make his words connect with his audience.
It’s a tough gig, for sure. I hope I can count on you for your support along the way. If you have not yet read the prologue to Cold Rock and would like to do so, please follow this link.
Thanks, all. It means a great deal to me to have you with me along the way.