Friday, July 12, 2013

What Would You Do Differently If You Didn't Have To Earn Money And How Would It Change The World If That Were The Case For Everyone?

What would you do differently if you didn't have to earn money, and how would it change the world if that were the case for everyone?

My mind landed on that question after spending a couple hours contemplating where online to submit a poem I had written. 

My plan was to try to get the poem published on a site with a larger audience than my blog, and then link the poem back to a related essay I would post on Squidoo - a site which, unlike most these days, actually pays its top writers (those who bring in a lot of traffic, hence my desire to draw more readers via publishing on other, non-paying, sites).

The problem was that most of the sites I was interested in - elephant journal, tiny buddha, MindBodyGreen - required submissions to be Word documents, and I write on a Mac. My sons told me it was simple: just save as Word doc. However, this particular poem is a pattern poem, and I would have no way of knowing if the formatting would be right when the editors opened it in Word. I could use a PC at the library (and I still might do that) but it might be a lot of work for nothing, as these sites are very selective.

HelloGiggles was a possibility, but only for their section From Our Readers, and I sheepishly admit that my ego struggled a bit with that idea; it brought back memories of contributing to Highlights as a ten-year-old. I investigated thoroughly - click, click, click, click - and decided it wasn't completely out of the question. 

But what to do?!?! How to decide? I wasn't thrilled with any of the options.

I reminisced about the pre-internet days of mailing poems to print magazines and gleefully getting paid $30-60 per poem when selected. For years I tried (and failed) to break into Woman's World's romantic fiction department simply because they paid $800 per 800-word story. I remembered my first online writing gig - $200 for an education piece for edhelper.com (which no longer pays freelancers). 

Suddenly I stopped the labyrinthine wanderings of my mind and asked myself: What do I really want? What is my ultimate goal and how can I get there? 

I needed money, that was true. But money never used to be my main reason for writing. I write because it is my passion, part of who I am. And although I often write for my eyes only, I have loved an audience ever since fifth grade when Mrs. Fandozzi asked me to go downstairs and read my illustrated story, Valerie The Valentine, to the kindergartners. 

My dream in life from the time I was eleven, was to live in a cabin in the mountains, my children playing in the meadow while I wrote story after poem after book and regularly walked down to the mailbox at the end of my winding driveway to mail them to publishers. Once or twice a week we would gather in homes with friends to make music together and laugh and talk and hug and find ways to make a difference in the world.

I think that is still my dream. Maybe not the details, but the spirit of it. I want to write because it brings me joy; I want to write to share that joy with others; I want to write to make a difference in the world, even if that difference is simply an extra smile or a moment of encouragement or connection or comfort or hope.

But what about money to live on? Writing is both exhilarating and tiring . . . and time-consuming. The more time spent earning money in other ways, the less time and energy left for writing. (I have no idea where the money was coming from in that cabin in the mountains scenario. . . .)

And that is how I arrived last night at the question: What would I do differently if I didn't have to earn money?

I want to write about Caety, but I am afraid to really start because once I do I will be lost in emotions like a deep dark forest for a very long time, and useless for making money until I come out on the other side. I want to write about many other things as well. There is so much inside me. 

If money weren't an issue, I would write and write and write, and publish publish publish. I wouldn't worry about how to get paid. I would follow my heart and pour it out on the world. I would laugh and cry and ache and smile as words flowed through me onto the page, and hopefully impact people's lives in a positive way. I would probably submit the previously mentioned poem and related essay together to one of those sites, instead of strategizing about monetizing.  

They say, "Do what you love and the money will follow," but I have not yet found that to be true for me. I know it is true for some of you. Others of you can relate to what I am saying and feeling and asking. Have you ever wondered how it might change the world if we all followed our passions without concern for earning cash? Might the world actually be a better place if we didn't have to make money? 

What would YOU do differently if you didn't have to earn money, and how would it change the world if that were the case for everyone?

I would love to hear your thoughts!

And since I haven't yet found a way to function without money, I would love for you to visit my pages at Squidoo or check out the products and services promoted here in the sidebar. I am also boldly throwing a donate button on here, just in case anyone wants to "support the arts" in that way. 

Thanks for reading, and please comment and share! 


P.S. for those of you who follow me on Facebook, yes, this is the post I wrote in my head in the shower and then lost. Apparently I found it again. 

P.P.S. I just realized I still haven't decided what to do with that poem.

1 comment:

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