It is the beginning of the year, and time for new projects for many of us. Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised, but I am, many of my friends want my money. I guess I should say my acquaintances. I write for children. Specifically, I write poetry for children. I’ve been doing this for a long time and I must admit, I’m not very good at making money doing this. But it is what I absolutely love to do, so I keep doing it. Everyday, on my blog Poetry For Kids Joy, I present a poem and a poetry writing prompt for children. When I had about 300 posts under my belt, a friend pointed out that the things I post are considered “published” by editors, so anything I put on my blog couldn’t be submitted to publishing houses for publication. In short, anything on my blog wouldn’t be making me any money. At that point, I considered shutting down my blog like my friend did. But, I knew that I was getting something from blogging otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to keep up the consistency and hectic pace of posting a poem a day. I also saw my writing, and the quality of my poems was improving by the daily work out. So I plodded on.
I did have the option of monetizing my blog, adding advertisements to the site which would earn me some money, but I didn’t want to clutter my blog with ads, and I especially didn’t want to add advertisements to a blog that was specifically focused on children. So I chose not to do that.
So lately I’ve received offers to:
- “join an on-line critique group” for a fee.
- have your picturebook manuscript professionally critiqued. (I love this,an editor for a publishing house, whose job it is to edit, will now charge you for her services.)
- join a published author for tea and a oral critique of your picturebook manuscript.
- take a class in “how to write” children’s picturebooks.
Anyway, are you getting the picture? Suddenly, I’m having to move what I thought were my friends into a category of “business acquaintances.” It seems to me that everywhere I turn now there is someone with their hand out trying to make money from something we used to do for each other as a neighborly thing to do.
For years, I have known people who charged to have students come to their home for a critique group. I’ve always avoided those things. I felt if I was putting my time into reading someone else’s work and making written comments on the work–I wasn’t going to pay for that.
I’ve also felt that a critique group is just someone else’s opinion and eyes on work submitted to the group. Some corrections are just that “Corrections” and they are easy to make to the manuscript. But some of the suggestions, are just meddling; and the writer should take time to think the suggestion through. Changes should NOT be made to the manuscript simply because someone said so. I was in a critique group recently where one member suggested re-writing the manuscript and moving the POV from first to third person. “For picture books, editors don’t like the ‘I’ of first person.” It is confusing for young children sitting on Mom’s lap to hear the “I” when it isn’t Mom but the character of the book.
The writer of the manuscript, wanted to sell her story, so she was all ready to re-write to fit this directive and would have totally lost the ‘voice’ of her piece in attempting to write to the market.
But I digress, the point I was trying to make is that it seems to me,everyone is trying to make money. Everyone has their hand out. And if you aren’t getting paid, then the work isn’t valuable. It has no worth. (Here is the point.)
I mentioned this to my husband and he started off on a long diatribe about the monetizing of everything. “Which is why it costs you $5.00 to get a ten cent aspirin in a hospital.” Not only are you paying for the aspirin, you’re paying for the paper cup it is delivered in, for the tray it is put on, for the aide to deliver the pill to your room, for the nurse to put the pill in the paper cup and to make the chart notes, for the hospital pharmacist to dispense the darn thing, and the physician to write the order for it. Your also paying for the accountant to post the charges and make the notes. Is it any wonder an aspirin can become so expensive?
So, back to children and writing. I guess for now I’ll just keep on doing my small thing and wish those business associates well in their endeavors. I always knew I had issues with money. I guess this just proves it.
Perhaps I should put my hat down and accept donations.