One of the several discussion boards of which I am a member had an interesting post this morning – “Why do you write?”
The respondents were supposed to reply in three words or less. It took me four: “I need the money”. I’ve never been much of a rule follower. I think that’s one of my most attractive features.
Not only that, it’s true. I’ve been a writer most of my life, and it has been (and still is) a very interesting life, in the Chinese sense of the word. Not my fault, really. I’ve lived and worked in several interesting parts of the world, served in a couple of armies, worked in government and private security and spent several profitable years in the software development industry.
I’ve also built cattle pens, worked in botanic gardens and professional golf courses, painted houses, flipped burgers, built furniture and made pizzas. And other stuff.
And I’ve learned a lot. Most of that knowledge and experience is very nearly useless, in this century at least, but it is interesting, and it’s mine.
But in 2008 I found myself facing what I knew was going to become a very long term of unemployment, and the job I had at the time was just filled with quiet bits. So I opened up a word processor and began to write what would wind up titled “The Big Bend”. Several months later most of the first draught was complete and I was out of a job. I found another one, but with the downturn in the economy it didn’t last six months and no amount of job hunting has turned up another.
After the first two years I gave up looking. Besides, I’ve sort of made up my own job. I’m a novelist; a full-time, professional liar. I’ve even though of putting that on my business cards the next time I have a bunch printed.
So I write because I have to and because my books sell and my readers assure me they will buy my next novel when it comes out. I love my readers. They are without a doubt the best employers a fella could ever hope for.
Now I just need to find more of them.