Monday, November 15, 2010

Writing For The Love

This weekend I read about an interesting experiment. The researcher put two groups of people into rooms with a puzzle that they had to assemble as a team. One group was to be paid for each puzzle piece that had been corrected placed. The other group was not paid. After a set amount of time, the researcher called a halt, put some magazines in the room, and told the participants that he was going to go grade their efforts. Instead, he sat down and watched the people in the rooms.

Those that had been paid by the completed puzzle piece went to the magazines and began to read them. Those who had not been paid continued to try to solve the puzzle.

The results don't surprise me. After people have been paid to do something, its hard for them to do it without pay. I see that all the time in writing. Once a person has entertained the idea of writing for pay, the idea of writing for the love becomes objectionable. The work they do must be marketed and sold, must not be given away. No matter how much joy the writing may have brought them when it was just for fun, now it is serious. Now it is work.

Further, they tell Everybody that it is bad to write for free, until Everybody knows it. You don't put work on the web, if you are a serious author. You don't self-publish. You don't, under any circumstance, give it away for free.

I'm not sure I want the joy of creating for creation's sake taken away from me. Sure, I want to make money at this. Who doesn't want to make money? But I also want to keep part of it for fun. Maybe I'll head over to Smashwords, and put up some stories for free. For fun. For the love.

Right after I get this for-pay work done...

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