I found Sandy’s blog post quite interesting and wanted to write my own response, but in another post because it’s just too long.
If “art” or “writing” or whatever were to become free and I could never make a buck from my writing, ever, then I wouldn’t write any longer. I’d probably direct my creative focus on other things like playing the piano and violin (stuff that I’ll never make money off of since I’m never going to be good enough to play at the Carnegie Hall, etc.).
Furthermore, I would no longer buy books or sign up for workshops that taught me how to be a better writer. Nor would I buy the paper, ink, notebooks, laptops, software, etc. that I use for my writing.
I also have a bad back and my wrists and elbows often hurt from sitting in front of my computer and typing away for a long time. This is even w/ a nice ergonomic keyboard and an excellent chair with great back support, etc. In order to minimize pain, I also have a weekly physical therapy treatment session, which I pay for.
(I learned a terrible lesson a few years ago when I could barely function from back and neck pain from sitting too long in front of a computer. It was so bad I couldn’t even turn my neck or sit in any one position for more than ten, fifteen minutes without feeling excruciating pain. It took over two months to become semi-functional again. My doctor strongly warned against “office work in front of computer” but I still do it, much to his consternation.)
However, if I could never make money from my writing, there would be very little reason for me to endure back pain or pay for physical therapy or put The Boy in daycare and so on. I’d spend more time with The Boy, quit physical therapy, sleep more, read more, exercise more, travel more, spend more time keeping the house clean, pick up music and drawing again (which I enjoyed tremendously until I stopped to focus on writing), watch all those shows I quit watching because I don’t have the time any more and get a part-time job that actually paid me because people think I’m doing something worth paying for.
The fact that my writing produces income is what justifies all the sacrifices — financially and time-wise — that I’m making in order to write. I suspect I’m not the only writer who feels this way. So there’s an unintended consequence of the attitude that people who produce art should do it for free.