Quite often, when explaining about Mobile Ministry Magazine , I’m asked the question, “so, how do you make money from that?” Part of that is indeed cultural. Then there’s the competitive nature of things (folks wanting to know so that they can either enter your marketplace or take their own interests and duplicate the pattern). And there’s the curosity of it. But, all in all, its basically one of those moments where if it weren’t for a few notable aspects of history happening, that it wouldn’t make much sense to be doing at all. That’s the rub of writing as part of a career. Its not so much something that really exists, and at the same time, its being challenged on an extreme end to continue to exist.
One of the people that I follow via Twitter remarked again on how they couldn’t find a decent fit with a writing outfit. They have been writing in mobile for a bit more than half a decade, but the prospects of continuing are slim to none – unless the ground is changed.
Another person that I follow from time to time has been writing in tech for about 25 years. To them also, the shfit of technology, marketing, and time has presented writing as being a thinner and thinner slice of something able to keep his professional appetite fed well. As with the previous person, the changes in what constitutes good writing, widely, accepted writing, and even just all out “pay me for my words” kind of writing has put the idea of writer-as-profession on a shakey ground.
I get it though. When I look at my own prospects, I wonder often if I was smart to take the route of writing-as-accessory to my professional goals. Should a profession that essentially was government, finance, and religious only until the printing press was well saturated be something that continue now that printing is just a matter of turning on a screen and getting an IP address? Some of us need editors – but those are simply extra eyes needed because the behavior of writing wasn’t taught in such a way that an editor isn’t needed? Should a writer be paid for their words, or for their value to society, an industry, a niche – and who determines whether this value is static or relative?
I can associate with the crux of many who are finding it hard to make a living by putting words on a page. But, I also understand why that is. Anyone who can read and put thoughts together. Anyone who can master just-enough of the technology of the age can make those thoughts available to anyone who’s looking for them. But not anyone can remain complelling forever. At some point, we have to come to grips with the termporary-ness of our own sense of relevancy. We either evolve to something else, or end up in the tar pits as a lesson to someone else who might pass us by in the future.
Writing. How do you expect to make money from that? Or, do you expect that by your writing, you will change and the money and lifestyle you gain will be more than the words you compose?