It’s good to have a job that doesn’t pay

by Mr. Sheehy

I’ve been writing at a decent clip in spurts this summer, but none of it is appearing here, which is rather odd and makes me long to return to the blog more regularly. When the summer job dropped on me I produced a couple pieces and sent them into a pair of magazines for publication consideration. In my effort to woo these publications I kept them off my blog until the pieces are rejected. That’s kind of the same reason I haven’t published on my blog the final paper I wrote for my graduate school internship/project, though I’m darn proud of it (and though it exists as a .pdf on my portfolio). That thing has had its review completed at the journal where I submitted it, but it is still seeping through the process.

In my search for journals in need of writing, I read a handful of submission guidelines for a number of publications where I thought I fit. A few readings in, my conclusion was that I don’t fit. All the purity of the topic and the importance of my voice diminished before the target audience and format; I do not begrudge these publications their marketing strategies, but neither do I desire to create their cookie cutter content.

I’d rather write here, working on my personal reflections and experimenting with my own style, than write there, holding myself back in attempts to produce something that will sell.

The Poets' Window

There it is, the light that reveals the invisible ink: sell. Selling is the only reason I’d write “there” instead of here or instead of working on my family book (a project to which I happily contributed 1,000 words this evening while Sammy slept on my lap). In actuality, selling is a fine idea in principle. I’d love to rake in a few bucks to help fund the basement reconstruction and mold-removal, but I’d like to make sure I don’t earn those pennies there by sacrificing my work here.

In a response to my note about Sammy’s birth, a good friend of mine complimented my writing by asserting, “You should be a writer!” Of course I gladly accept the compliment (however unearned), but I am tempted to reply to her with a bit of contradiction. I want to tell her what I need to remind myself as I write:

“I am a writer; I just don’t get paid for it.”

Thanks for reading.