Humour / Writing

How Badly Do You Want It?

They say that a good writer can write about anything…..but would you?

Many bloggers-myself included, dream of someday becoming professional writers. We secretly hope that our blogs will one day gain a cult following- or better yet, be accidentally discovered by a big-time publisher who google searches “communist wrapping paper”, “fat bastard crying” or “lonely old cat lady for life”. ( <— Sad but true actual search terms that brought people to The Camel Life).

In my fantasy, said publisher will instantly realize what a niche market there is for vignettes about Monday hangovers and exerpts from my childhood diary, and ask me to write a collection of short stories that will gain worldwide recognition and praise.. and as I step on stage and hip check David Sedaris and Sloane Crosley out of the way to accept my Pulitzer, I’ll remember that it all started with a little blog, and a big dream.  

There would also be a crown, a sash, and longstem roses. It's my fantasy people.

Not everyone is as delusional patient as me though, and some people actually decide to take matters into their own hands. Recently, I read this article about a Toronto writer who was tired of waiting around to be discovered, and quit her cushy, full-time job to be a freelance writer, advertising her services on Craigslist and Kijiji. She was surprised when she actually started receiving replies:

“Some of my jobs are standard web content creation and parenting articles. But then there are the weird and wacky ones. After a stint on an arranged marriage site penning enticements for those seeking ideal partners, it suddenly occurred to me that many love-seekers get no replies because their profiles suck. So now I also ghostwrite dating profiles, creating characters so much cooler than myself that if I weren’t married, I’d totally date them.

Turns out there are people all over the world looking for writers for both business and personal reasons – sometimes way too personal. A recent ad posted on Craigslist sought a romantic-comedy writer to compose a short story about professional women in their 20s and 30s who wear excruciatingly painful heels.”

*Photo via NOW Magazine

[The last job was actually for a wealthy man with a foot fetish for “his own, personal use”. She turned him down.]

I thought this article was really interesting, and brought it up it with my homegirl Karen at The Skinny Jeans and Starbucks Chronicles this past weekend over coffee and eggs benny (I wanted to add Mimosas to the mix, but she said no. Something about me being an “embarrassment to myself”). Both of us agreed that while it must have been extremely liberating and exciting for this chick- we could never do it.

It’s not really a question of dignity (because I don’t have any of that left anyway), for me it’s more about freedom. I love writing my blog because it’s mine- I can write about whatever I want, whenever I want, and not have to answer to anyone. (Except my followers, who are getting really sick of hearing Kim Kardashian jokes). It’s an outlet for me to be myself- no matter how ridiculous. I don’t think I would enjoy writing nearly as much if people were telling me exactly what to write, with all kinds of parameters and stipulations and little room for creativity.

Plus, I’m way too risk averse to quit my job and be a freelance anything. Unless it was a freelance wine-drinker and tv-watcher. Cause that would be awesome.  

Question of the Day: Would you write about anything if it meant you could be a full-time writer? Or would you do it only on your own terms?

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34 thoughts on “How Badly Do You Want It?

  1. Well, I am not gutsy enough to quit my job- but I would writ anything for money…lol. I have been applying for paid writing jobs as extra income- there really is a market out there for even writing blog posts for money… and hey, I’ll take any extra income I can! ;o)

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  2. I would write most things as a fulltime writer, but my preferences would be made clear. And I would most definitely turn some things down. None come to mind now though… Hmmm… I wonder why.

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  3. For what it’s worth, I’d probably pay you to keep me amused every day – but you seem to do that anyway for free and I have no money to spare, so there’s that.

    I’m not going to sugar coat it, I’d write for anyone about anything provided there was money involved. I have so little shame, it’s into the minus numbers.

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  4. I totally agree with you! I just recently started a blog and I am no professional writer by any means. I do it for myself and whoever is interested in my stories. I really like your blog and have more or less the same ideas as you do! It’s just for fun!

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    • Thank you! 🙂 I totally agree – it’s just for fun, and when it stops being fun then I will stop doing it. God help us all what I’ll get up to in my free time instead tho…

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  5. haha, this is a fun post, it reminds of of a blog I recently did regarding my buddy, big “Ben”. He signed up for online dating account but he was getting no hits and no responses. He knows I can get pretty creative and persuasive, so I did him a favor. Within 24hours, he had over 10+ requests..lol.

    To answer your question, I would strictly do it under my terms. Need/love of money has a way of messing things up.

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  6. Write your short stories as well as doing your day job. It’s what I have been doing! Self-publishing is easy and free.

    If I could quit my office job and make a packet from writing complete bollocks all day it would be marvellous.

    I know what you mean about the freedom aspect though. Being restricted to a set theme makes things hard.

    If you want any info about self-publishing feel free to ask.

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  7. Someone will give me money AND a topic!?!! This is theoretical right?
    Seriously, I’d write anything for money, but the actual problem would be having to submit to the editorial whims of the person with the cash. If I could write, get paid, suffer the editing AND get to leave my name out of it, I’d consider it.
    Like you, i do enjoy the freedom of my blog, but on the other hand, with each piece I do, my legions of followers (I think there are 7 or 8 of them now) increasingly expect the high level of quality tinged with idiocy which I’m very slowly become known for.

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    • haha I never thought about that, I’d definitely take some topic suggestions…
      there is definitely something even more liberating to be said for anonymity I guess- you have a point!

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  8. Bloody hell, if people are sick of your Kim Kardashian jokes, they must be rolling their eyes in twelve different directions at my Colin Firth and Benedict Cumberbatch jokes.
    (and I could, you know, make a joke about your eggs benny, since I mentioned Benedict Cumberbatch, but I shall refrain)

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  9. My job right now involves a lot of writing. Usually it’s my initials or post-it notes trying to explain what’s wrong. Sometimes when it’s real important I write an email.

    The subject matter isn’t what would bother me. If they took away my “voice” or limited me I might be a tad bothered.

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  10. I like to think that I wouldn’t, but I know that I would. I mean, my blog is mostly made up horoscopes and crappy mysteries. If I were offered a check to write half the weirdness I already write, I wouldn’t be living in my car right now (I’m not, but that could change). So yes, I would take your filthy money and I would enjoy it, too.

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  11. My dearest breeeezy, I would have loved for both of us to be embarrassing ourselves with mimosas at 1 in the afternoon. However, I decided to be a good and considerate friend and remove extra stress from your not so fun day Monday. Manhattans are cruel bitches. You`re welcome.

    Also, I have been seriously thinking (a rarity)…we should start our own hip writing business! Why not! We dont have to quit our day jobs. it costs 60 bucks to get a business lisence

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  12. I had always thought I would write whatever I was paid to write, until, at my last job, I had to write a training manual. Having to drudge though something, step by step, in a dull, yet informative tone was sheer hell.

    I’d rather be poor, undiscovered, and blogging my own crappy blog posts.

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  13. You have to life life on your own terms!
    It is as simple as that.
    As you’ve said, a gifted writer can write about anything and make it appealing and memorable, but why bother diluting your passion?

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