This Black Friday weekend my inbox was full of specials and sales. Take courses cheap. Learn how to be a best selling author. Get more marketing. Blah blah blah. The message was clear. Writers weren’t hustling enough, they weren’t marketing enough, and because they weren’t enough, they weren’t selling books.
I call bullshit. After I did that, my next question was, “so who is helping writers actually be well? Who is helping them balance work and life? Who is helping them take care of themselves so they can refill their creative wells?”
The answer, according to my inbox, is nobody. And I suppose that’s the same as in the working world. Sure, those marketeers selling you the perfect system or the perfect number of books to reach a certain income level are shoving people on the same hustlebus as the capitalist marketers who talk about “side gigs” and “monetizing hobbies” as if we have nothing better to do in life than be little productivity machines. Just because you can’t take money with you when you die, doesn’t mean you can’t accumulate as much as you can while you’re living and then gloat over all the little poor people right?
Wrong. We all know the publishing paradigm is broken. Hella broken to be honest with you, and it has been for a long time. Sure, some things have changed and the advent of self-publishing has made things better. It’s also revealed where other parts of the system are broken. I hear from more and more authors every day that they’re stressed out, burned out, and exhausted to the point where they’re wondering if it’s worth it. Considering that smart writers don’t get into this for the money, or if they did, they certainly didn’t listen to those who had gone before because publishing has never been a “get rich quick game”.
The writers I know got into this business because they love telling stories, they love sweeping readers into their world and giving them the experience (and maybe even escape) that they’re craving. In order to do this, you have to refill your creative well. And not just from time to time, but all the time. The saying is true, you can’t pour from an empty cup, and you can’t write with an empty creative well.
The well writer is the creative writer. So who is taking care of you?
The next time you see one of those sale emails hit your inbox, ask yourself the question – does this person have your best interests in mind or are they just trying to make money off of your desperation?