It’s what all aspiring writers want to do, make money with their writing. But as I look at the possibilities it always feels like a lot of work with very little gain. Just this morning, I saw an ad on craigslist advertising for writers they could hire. They wanted a recent example of something I had written, and so I decided to write something just for them. I can write about anything, perhaps not intelligently, but enough to keep the reader’s attention. I do have things to say about a lot of issues, but do I have the discipline to produce x number of words to a strict deadline? I think so. I live in San Francisco and it is funny to me how many writers there are in this city. Whenever I tell someone I am a writer, they almost always say they are a writer as well. I have yet to meet a writer who makes their living writing.
Most of what I write nowadays is poetry. I write poetry because it comes easily to me, and a lot of people seem to like it. It has been a hobby of mine. But I really ought to be writing more, and get paid for doing it. I work as a sales associate at a clothing store, and it barely pays the bills. If I am talented, and have something to contribute, it is foolish to live in poverty if it is unnecessary. There are a lot of people just like me, talented and barely able to keep a roof over their heads.
So what do people want to read? I think they want to read something different from the usual things you find. We need writing that doesn’t nurture our worst instincts. We need writing that inspires people to live meaningful lives, and to find solutions to the many problems which plague us. Take the income disparity problem, for instance. I think the educated need to be educated. They have some crazy ideas. They seem to think that the poor deserve to be poor, and the rich deserve to have what they have. They fail to recognize how rigged the game is. Poverty destroys a vital resource. People who are in poverty become a liability because they are poor. If they could have enough to simply live unassisted by government, they could be in a position to contribute their abilities and talents. Instead they are written off. I have been shocked and appalled by the way poverty stricken people have been treated. They are treated like trash, as if they have no value whatsoever. I think this is distorted thinking.
The rich entrepreneurs need to ask a simple question: Who is going to buy their goods and services? When most of the population is struggling to survive, they are not going to be able to buy expensive meals or expensive products. Here in San Francisco, business relies on tourists. Most of the locals can only afford to live here, if they have some kind of government assistance. Families have moved away to the suburbs, or out of California altogether. A nation without a middle class is in trouble. I think our troubles began when corporations put their own interests ahead of the interests of our country. They destroyed our economy in pursuit of quick profits.
What is the answer to this problem? I am not an economist, but it seems to me that the average person in America needs to take back capitalism. Capitalism that is concentrated around the uppermost one percent is no longer capitalism, it is oligarchy. We need to stop giving our money to large corporations and begin supporting the small businessman. We can create our own economy which does not depend on government or big business to survive. Of course, this means trading convenience for freedom. It is much more awkward to create an alternative economy, than it is to simply consume as we always have. That lifestyle, however, keeps us stuck in poverty, dependent upon either government programs or a part time job at a pitiful wage. The best model would be for all of us to find ways of being entrepreneurial. Business doesn’t need to be the exclusive domain of the rich. It is for all of us.
Being paid to write is an example of this entrepreneurial spirit. If I have the talent and the discipline, I can do something about my circumstances. I don’t have to give up my dignity in order to get my government handout. I can find ways to support myself on my own terms. This little essay is just an introduction. I haven’t worked out all of the details of how this new economy would work, but a lot of people have. We can get into contact with one another and network.