Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Writing is NOT a profession!

This article fucks me off for a bunch of reasons:

1. Loads of professions are full of people doing unpaid work not just writing or creative pursuits. Carers for example. Every public service. Interns. Everywhere people are being exploited.

2. Being creative is not a profession it's a calling. You do it because its who you are. Hopefully you find some way in this crazy world to make money to facilitate making stuff. If you're lucky you get paid to make it. But it isn't just fear that makes people want to share ideas, stories, music, etc... for free. We do so for many reasons.

3. Okay so "free culture" is a myth. Fair point. There are loads of people who make money from all the free going around. That doesn't mean the principals of free art or free information are bad. It means that they are being corrupted, unsurprisingly, by smart people in commerce.

In no way am I defending creative people being exploited, but we aren't the only ones! Nor should we be encouraged to treat our work (the real work we do, not the stuff that pays the bills) like a business. That isn't why we make stuff. We make it for audiences. We make it to share. We make it to touch and interact with other people.

Of course we should be canny. Always try to avoid bastards making money from your work that they don't give to you where possible. But don't take the soul and art destroying ethos of capital into your work. You need to get things done during the time you have on earth! Waiting for someone to pay you means you are not developing your craft and you are missing the point of what you are doing. Be sensible with your product, but always be producing. And remember finding an audience and serving them is much more important than making money. And weirdly the only real way to make money from art is to convince an audience to pay for it. And that will probably involve a period of giving it away for free. This isn't a bad thing.

Art existed before capitalism. Perhaps it has never been unambiguously free; there is always an exchange of some kind. But it isn't an easy fit art into the system. Why we do it, and how we do it, are generally outside that sphere. We have to negotiate with capital to live in the world. But let's remember it's a negotiation. We aren't a workforce we are dreamers. We're here to have and share ideas.

Writing is NOT a profession!

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