On the prostitution of writing

by VelvetFletcher on December 1, 2013

in Writing

I sold some writing the other day, in my real life job as a freelance writer. Shaking the email in my hand, I waved it at my husband. “LOOK! I made $200 in 10 minutes and I didn’t even have to show anyone my tits!”

This is a common refrain in my household where sometimes it seems like, and feels like, writing is akin to prostitution. The high class kind, where everyone gets a happy ending, and I don’t have to work at it as hard as someone else.

Writing, baring my soul for the world, feels like getting naked in front of strangers. There are parts of me in every character I create, and parts of my life in every story. It’s all fiction, but I’m showing myself to the world, thrusting myself into the public eye, screaming for people to consume what I’ve got on offer.

And then I accept money for my bared soul.

One client pays me 50c a word. It takes me 10 minutes to write words he loves, words which get shared and posted around. You can’t tell me that sucking a dick would be easier and more lucrative.

My writing has bits of my soul in it. Hair threads and flickers of personality. Maybe one character likes cats, another likes books and gardening. Maybe one has a filthy mouth. Bits and pieces, flecks and moments.

If prostitution is the act of selling yourself, then I’m doing it, right here, right now. Hiding behind words on a computer screen, I am still here, showing you my insides.

Ernest Hemingway is famously quoted as saying:

There is nothing to writing. Just sit down at a typewriter and bleed.

And oh, what a quote, what a statement. When there’s blood on my keyboard and I’ve worn my soul fingers away to ragged nubs, something inside me pushes me on, forces me to write more, write harder. Even if I weren’t being paid, I’d still choose this life of seduction and exhaustion.

I pull my soul out and put it on a screen, or put it on paper and ask people to pay me for it.

You can’t tell me I’m not selling myself.

There are people out there who write merely for the love of it, they are aghast at the thought of payment. But there are also people out there who fuck merely for the love of it. You can’t tell me it’s a purer pursuit, to refuse money for doing something you love.

Or maybe I’m just a capitalist whore, selling out.

(I don’t think so)

At the end of the day, writing is what I do. If someone wants to pay me to do it, I’ll smile sweetly, take their money and bleed on a page.

Isn’t that the great writer dream?


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{ 1 comment }

1 Kez December 1, 2013 at 8:39 pm

Brilliantly said Velvet. Thank you for the blood you shed to explain how many of us feel.

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