No, I won’t write for free and neither should you.

screenshot_1It’s hard being a writer. It’s even harder trying to market yourself to people in hopes they might like your writing and decide to pay you for it. Sadly writers are being taken advantage of every day in the hopes that they might write something that goes viral.

The thing about writing for free is that if people know you’ll write for them for free, in order to help build their brands your brand becomes less special. Less important. It isn’t about “you” it’s about the collective unit, it’s about making sure that they the ones posting your work have enough content to post.

I follow a lot of writers, most of whom spend more time marketing themselves then they do actually writing.

My “mentor” for lack of a better term spoke on this about two or three years ago. He refused to compromise his work in order to be noticed. Instead he begged and borrowed and worked hard to achieve his dreams. This year Charles Bivona finally became a published author, with like a real book and everything. It was an amazing journey to watch.

I saw Professor (Former but as he is MY teacher the title must stick)  Bivona go from starving artist (sometimes quite literary) to successful author. It wasn’t easy for him. A lot of Professor Bivona’s journey was really about introspection. Ripping apart his memories and thoughts and feelings for you the consumer.

A friend of mine writes for a very well known public magazine. A beautiful wonderful magazine and it hit me that perhaps I might like to attempt to submit something.

Until I saw this:

Payment: While we wish we could pay writers for their valuable work, we too are unpaid and are simply unable to offer any remuneration except publication. We hope that the quality of our journal and the exposure writers receive here will serve as a small token of our appreciation. If work is later published in a print issue, contributors will receive one copy of the issue in which their work appears.

When the Prof talked about this several years ago I didn’t really have much experience in trying to get published nor was I really as passionate about a future writing career as I am now.

I didn’t really at the time think about the consequences of submitting your work to anyone and everyone who wanted it. Now it’s a bit different.

I’m no where near as popular as the Prof – people don’t race to read my blog and if you’re reading this chances are they probably aren’t racing to yours either, but I’m okay with that.

My friend Ace once told me posting every day is fine if you want to fill your site with content, but if you want to keep it special you post once in awhile. Enough to keep people coming back but it doesn’t have to be every day.

Ace is one of those amazing writers who rarely gives real advice, but when he does I tend to listen (Eventually). His writing is so fucking good that I once told him he made me “Fall in love with the man I think he is.

Y’all know I can’t keep to a schedule but I do believe my content is special. So in this whole life changing thing that I’m working on I’ve decided I’m going to write when I want to write, and I’ll hang on to some things posting them at more appropriate times, and others I’ll post as soon as I’m done writing.

One thing I know for sure is that it’s totally one thing to put free content here it’s another to give it away for free to a website that promises you more attention but doesn’t really back it up.

In this day and age it’s incredibly easy to say “If you send us free content for our brand, you’ll benefit too because we’ll make sure our network knows about you.” It’s much more difficult to back that up however.

charlesI feel as I write this that I am following slightly in Charles Bivona’s footsteps when I say write what you feel you need to write.

Carve your own path. Stop reading those stupid posts about how to get more readers.

I have more readers than I’ve ever had before. Mostly because I finally joined blogging communities. Partially because I stopped isolating myself and definitely because I started reaching out to other bloggers and asking questions.

Holy shit I’m writing an advice blog about writing – the one thing I swore I’d never do…mind you y’all know I have opinions on everything so are we really surprised?

Charles Bivona and I have been Facebook friends since 2011. (I checked.) I’ve changed a lot in that time and a lot of that has to do with him. Whether he knows it or not. He’s become a voice for the people of the internet who want to change their lives.

I’ve made a lot of other friends a long the way but Bivona without a doubt is someone who inspires me. I see myself in his shadow right now.

We have a lot in common. We’re both writers, we’ve both dealt with abuse and we’re both learning that it’s okay to love ourselves. The more I see myself in him the more I realize how lucky I am to have discovered him exactly when I needed his inspiration – even though I am only just now beginning to realize how much he inspires me.

I see myself writing my first book one day and I can promise you that the words “Dedicated to Charles Bivona” will be underneath the front cover on the first page.

Find writers that inspire you, tell them they inspire you. Ask questions and for god sakes stay true to yourself.

Writing is not an isolated journey. When we write we pull from memories, experiences and thousands of people from around the world who inspire us. Not everyone who inspires you will inspire you in a positive way. Those that do however? Hold on to them, cultivate their friendship and be fucking grateful they share some of their light with you.

Don’t worry about how many people like your writing it isn’t about them.screenshot_2

It is about you and yourself. Your soul.

Art is one of
those things that isn’t supposed to be easy. If it were easy it wouldn’t be art. It would be something anyone can do.

Ask yourself right now.

Are You A Writer? Do you love the way the words flow from your heart – not your brain – from your heart and soul to your fingers to the keyboard, from the pen, to the page?

Do you wake up thinking “I should be writing”? Do you hear yourself utter those words ten thousand times a day?

If all you can think about is writing then you are a writer. If you can think of nothing else but writing something, anything, just so you can put words together and say “I did that” then you are a writer.

I don’t know if I will ever make Stephanie Myer movies kind of money with my writing, but that isn’t the point.

The point is to have that moment – the vision I had when I was five years old, holding my book in my hands while I sat outside a publishing house. It’s holding my book in my hand not giving a fuck if I sell a single copy because it doesn’t matter. All that matters is that I finish the book. That at least one copy gets printed.

That’s my dream.

I am following my dream every single day that I write something I am following the path of a man who I admire respect and want to be when I grow up.

The only question now is….

What is your dream?

All My Love

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You can follow Professor Bivona Here

Find his Website Here

And buy his soon to be award winning collection of Poems Here

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