The World Needs Your Writing
There is not “too much content.” We’re only just beginning to find our voices.
Let’s not kid ourselves here: I don’t make much money on Medium. For the past few months, I have actually been making some income here, about enough for groceries each month if I don’t shop too bougie (but I do), but compared to the time I spend writing, I’m still averaging less than minimum wage.
Of course, I don’t write for the money. I write because I have to. I write about the things I think matter, the perspectives I want shared, the stories I have that might help others when shared, but that’s not what I mean when I say “I have to.” I mean, I have to breathe and eat and sleep. These are non-negotiable requirements. Writing is the same.
At least, that’s what I tell myself when I spend hours on stories and years on novels no one other than my parents will likely ever read. I don’t do it for the rewards, I do it because I can’t not, so the opportunity cost was already included ante facto. My body’s daily energy budget includes an 18% gratuity for obligatory word vomit.
That’s how I sell it to myself. It can be a tough sell when the nights get long and I can hear the crickets in between the scattered applause from strangers. Hear them in between the gaps in these words. Hear them when the notification bell is silent.
I don’t do it for the reward, but being rewarded does make it rewarding.
When I was in college, I sold the first copy of my poetry chapbook after performing at the Nuyorican one night. It would be the only copy of that book I’d ever sell, but I kept those ten dollars like my own personal Ark of the Covenant. It was a promise to me from something bigger, that all this time and all these words had value. I kept those two five-dollar bills for years.
But then the years wore by. Life battered me around a bit, up and down, and one day, I lost track of that money. I probably spent it without realizing it. I kept writing, but the promise remained unfulfilled. I lost faith in my promise, in the feeling that my words were art and true and valuable. A sacrament became a holiday became just another day.