Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Writer's Life (Re-visited)

(To read the original post this is built from, click here.)

Anyone can put words on a page; but a writer puts words on a page that you want to read.

And no matter how much I try to fight it, how hard I turn my nose up at, it's what I want to be forever: a writer.

So okay, I had my tantrum and said I wanted out of this career choice but I've since taken some time to reconcile with my first love. The Voices and I then came to the conclusion that it isn't writing that we hate, it's the business of writing. The hustling for a by-line. The hoping wishing praying for an agent. For that $40,000 advance. For Momma Oprah to choose your baby as her book month selection. Writing query letters. Interviewing celebrities for pennies on the dollar. Writing other people's words and never getting credit for it just because you need to pay the rent. That's what I have a problem with; not writing itself.

But the business of writing is killing my joy for my craft. Or rather, I'm allowing the business of writing to kill my joy for my craft, and I don't know how to fix that.

I don't usually speak of my job on here for fear of being fired if my boss ever finds this blog but fuck it- if that happens he'd be doing me a favor.

Monday thru Friday I go to work at a boutique public relations firm in the city. So I go to this job, where our clients include labor unions and business coalitions, and basically my job is to write for these clients, AS these clients, so that their target audience will support their particular mission. You know how you send a little money to, let's say, PETA, and then they send you all sorts of communications: emails, newsletters, post cards, etc., with informative articles that deal with animals and how great they are and why you should protect them? Right. I write stuff like that... just an endless stream of persuasive essays that I can't even claim because it's not really mine- it's the client's.

I also have to help write opinion editorials and letters to the editors for clients. So when you read that section of your newspaper and see a letter there from some bigwig CEO, chances are someone like me wrote that for him and all HE did was have his secretary read it over and sign his name to it.

Some of you out there might have a hard time wondering what is so bad about what I do. Well, besides the low wages I'm paid, you have to understand that as an artist and THE MASTER OF FINE ARTS, having to hand over my words to someone else attacks my ego. I have NO by-lines through this job. No one outside my office knows that I've written countless articles, newsletters, etc for these various clients. And us writers are some vain motherfuckers! We want our name out there. We want people to know how great we are with a pen, so life as a ghostwriter is just the saddest thing I could ever imagine for myself.

You also have to take into account that in public relations, what you write has to be laid out in a way that makes the client look good. But what happens when your client ISN'T good or ISN'T on the side you would choose to be on? Then what? This is the dilemma I deal with on the regular. Sometimes I write stuff that really makes me feel just dirty and hypocritical because under different circumstances I'd NEVER write such things. Yet, there I am Monday thru Friday doing just that.

So given all this introspection I've done while away from blogger, The Voices and I decided that we want to put words on a page that hold people's attention, that keeps them wanting more, that accentuates our literary genius, and have concluded that ghostwriting for a PR firm is not going to bring us the joy we so desperately crave.

We have set a deadline of August 31st; we no longer wish to prostitute our words. Our mission in life as of this moment is to be at peace with the words we release into the world because we know in the end it will be what really makes us happy.

Well, that and the title of Mrs. John P. Cusack.

*smooches...making changes one day at a time like an alcoholic*
and hoping that you all strive to do what will make you happy in life and not just what will pay the bills.

peace, love & blessings, bitchezzz