A few weeks ago, I read a blog post about book pirating. It’s not the first time I’ve read a post on that subject, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. This one caught my attention, though. Or, more precisely, one of the comments on it caught my attention. I wish I could remember which blog this was on, but since I don’t, here’s the gist: this person had friends that pirated books, and at least one of these friends didn’t see a problem with it. The friend looked at authors like he looked at other members of the arts community. He thought our “art” should be free and we should have real jobs to pay for our daily living expenses.
That last sentence brings up many issues – should art be free? Is writing a real job? – but the question I asked myself after I read this was: would I continue to write if I never made a buck?
Basically, if everyone thought like this guy and people no longer paid for books, would I still write them?
The answer for me is easy. Yes. A big, resounding YES. There is a rather big “but” here, though.
I would write a hell of a lot less.
Instead of hiring a nanny to watch my boys three days a week, I would stay home and take care of them. Instead of sneaking in a few minutes of writing time during their naps, I’d do laundry, clean the house, prep their food, etc. Instead of working weekends to meet a deadline, I’d go out with my husband and kids. I’d play Eurogames with my friends. I’d go to a movie every once in a while. I’d try to find some other work-at-home opportunity that promised me a paycheck, and while I’d still write down the stories in my head, it would take me years to finish one of them.
I don’t write for the money (because authors make so much, ya know). But I need the money so that I can justify the time I spend away from my family and friends.
How about you? Would you continue to write if you knew you would never be paid for your books? Or would you spend most of your time doing something else?