Today: Funds cut to the arts in Australia. The Toast to close down. These sparked my thoughts:
My parents never quite enjoyed their jobs. They got a free university education at the time (1970s) because they trained as teachers. Teaching is not just teaching. It involves people-wrangling, and that's the worst part. Only nowadays, the worst part is probably dealing with the students' parents who want to know why you haven't given their child an A, even though their child never does work in class, and constantly distracts other students from doing theirs, too.
My dad ended up quitting and was unemployed for quite some time. He re-trained in finance and became a financial planner. He bitched about his boss every day. Sometimes workmates. Sometimes clients.
I grew up thinking it was absolutely 100% normal to hate your day job. For your day job to not be your #1 passion.
And then I started reading about writers, and how a lot of them expect that writing should be their day job, and then they get pissed when it doesn't make them enough money to get buy.
When people tell writers to not quit their (other) day job, they don't say it to be mean. They say it to be REALISTIC. The writers who can afford to go without other paid work are the chosen few. They are the exception. Not the rule.
As I've said in previous posts, though I like books, I understand that society has to prioritise. Governments may divert their funding elsewhere. Consumers may find other things more important or valuable than someone's writing.
One of the hardest lessons in life is learning that no one will value your own work as much as you do. Everyone else will undervalue you. And it will hurt.
Australia announced funding cuts today. The Toast announced they're shutting down in a few months. The word "support" is constantly being thrown around. We have to support this, we have to support that. Thing is, the people most likely to read these calls for support are...other writers. Other writers who likely are struggling to support themselves, so how could they possibly afford to support anyone else, too?
Because that's the hard thing in life. We always figure (correctly or incorrectly) that everyone else is financially better off than we are. More generous than we are. More caring than we are.
More valuable than we are.
This is the way of the future - nothing will be free in the future when it comes to the written word. Everything will be subscription-only. No news, feature, analysis, or blog post will be free - everything will have its price. And if consumers are lucky, they may get an excerpt to find out what they're missing out on.
The Toast writers will be fine. One of them said she writes for The Guardian, and the other one is the head of another popular website whose name escapes me. (Bustle? The Mary Sue?) They even say themselves in their goodbye post that their shutting up shop has less to do with money, and more to do with that they just don't want to do it anymore.
And here come the guilt-tripping calls for people to turn off their ad-blockers, and click on the ads on their favourite websites. I'm not doing that, because ads have frozen up my laptop far too many times, and my laptop's fortunately lasted a lot longer than it should have.