Tuesday, May 25, 2010

If I Win the Lottery

"If you won the Lottery, would you quit writing? If not, would the guaranteed income change how and what you write?"




by Rebecca Cantrell



Quit writing when I finally had the money to not worry about how I’m going to subsidize my next book? Are you crazy? As a writer in the current economy, it's hard not to worry about money.

But I don’t write because of invisible dollar signs. I write because of invisible voices in my head. I write because I am a crazy obsessed person who can’t stop writing. I wrote for years before I even thought to send something out to be published. Being published was the lottery. And I won it and I love it. I think it's easy to get caught up in worrying about the money and the numbers of books sold (things largely outside our control) and forget about the pure joy of writing.


Don’t get me wrong. If a big pile of money comes out of this whole writing thing, just like the next writer, I will install a pool in my basement full of gold coins and swim around in it like Scrooge McDuck. Although I might have the coins sanitized first because who know where they’ve been.


But even if I had that big pool of germ-free coins, I wouldn’t write anything different. I already write just what I want to write. I don’t try to make it more or less commercial. I write to tell the absolute best version of the story that I can. Period. I hope that publishers will publish it. I hope that readers will enjoy it. I hope to always get a huge thrill when I see a book with my name on the cover right there in the bookstore for anybody to just pick up and buy.


But this does tie in nicely to last week’s question. What would I do with all that money? I would use it to write more. I would hire someone else to clean my house. I would hire someone else to update my web site. I would hire someone else to book my travel, return my library books, book my blog tours, mow the lawn, and drop things off at the post office.


In fact, the imaginary personal assistant I would hire to do all this is named Kevin. I know, other people have imaginary friends. Bucko, I have plenty of real friends, but no real personal assistant. Not yet. When I hit the lottery, I’m hiring him. I don’t know who he is, and he might be a woman, but his/her name while working for me will be Kevin. Every day I make lists of things for Kevin to do. Every day I have to do all those things myself. But if I win the lottery, Kevin will start work.

Kevin, what numbers do you think I should play this week? Remember, your job is at stake…

22 comments:

Maribeth said...

I wouldn't hire your Kevin (that wouldn't be friendly) but I would find one of my own.
Nice thing to daydream in the shade.

Maribeth
Giggles and Guns

Shane Gericke said...

I wanna be your Kevin cause your life sounds like fun. Plus there's that Scrooge McDuckian pool o'cash to swim around on. Seriously, though, great post!

Gabi said...

You reminded me of the youngest Cosby daughter when she renamed her best friend "Bud." He stayed around for years and pretty much did all the grunt work. I hope your Kevin is there with a high thread count towel every time you take a dip in the McDuck pool.

Rebecca Cantrell said...

Thanks for not hiring away Kevin, Maribeth! I'd miss him. Ah, daydreams! Such is the stuff of writers.

On a practical level, I would still like to make a living for me (and Kevin, if possible).

Rebecca Cantrell said...

The job is open, Shane! You'd be a great Kevin. Right now the pay isn't so great, but you never know...

And you could do the Krugerrand backstroke on breaks.

Rebecca Cantrell said...

Thanks, Gabi! Oooo, high thread count towels. I'm adding those to the list of things Kevin needs to procure on his next shopping trip.

Hard Boiled Mysti said...

I think when the time comes to hire Kevin, you should advertise in the Hollywood Reporter. Town full of abused assistants who would really appreciate an excellent boss and talent as you are.

Does anyone write fiction primarily for the money? (I know plenty of screenwriters and technical writers who write only for the money, and most of them should stop right away!)...

Brad Parks said...

You ARE going to post the position of "Kevin" when it becomes available, yes? I'm always on the lookout for back-up jobs for when my wife finally throws me out.

Rebecca Cantrell said...

Thanks for the tip, Mysti! I'll want to know just where to find Kevin when the time comes.

I think you don't write fiction for the money for a long time, if ever. That's the reality. The pay is abysmal for almost everyone. Doesn't mean we don't WANT better pay, but that's not the current market reality.

I actually liked tech writing. I also liked the money. :) And I might be doing it again one day very soon. But I won't stop fiction writing; I'll just do it less.

Rebecca Cantrell said...

Brad, I will definitely post that Kevin job when it is fully funded.
Kevin must have a sense of humor, so you're good to go there.

How are your web skills?

Rachel Brady said...

Awesome post, Rebecca. I like your attitude!

Rebecca Cantrell said...

Thanks, Rachel! Maybe someday we can sit down and share our Kevin-travails. You know, after we both get Kevins.

Meredith Cole said...

I'm glad you won't stop writing when you're rich and famous! That would be too sad, Rebecca.

I used to say if I ever got rich I would get a massage once a week, but I wouldn't mind having an assistant as well... Ah, we writers do love to dream.

Rebecca Cantrell said...

Oooo. A massage weekly! That's just the kind of appointment Kevin would be good a booking too!

Thanks for the tip, Meredith!

A writer can dream...heck, that's what we do anyway.

Terry Stonecrop said...

Ha ha. Funny post! Love the Kevin assistant.

It's so sad there's so little money in writing. Why do all the fun careers pay lousy.

Rebecca Cantrell said...

Thanks, Terry!

>Why do all the fun careers pay lousy.
Because they can.

Although most of them pay a few people a lot of money. JK Rowling is doing OK. Beyonce too. Michael Jordan.

The trick is becoming one of those few and/or making peace with it if you don't.

Something I'm sure Kevin could help me with...

Kelli Stanley said...

Wonderful post, Becky! I hope next holiday season we all get a Kevin (or Gabi gets a chocolate-covered cowboy, if she prefers, and CJ a cabana boy).

Until then, let's hear it for the unsung "Kevins" of our lives ... our supportive family and friends, who schlep us around, critique our work and help us with all kinds of stuff. These days, writing a book takes a village! :)

Rebecca Cantrell said...

Thanks, Kelli! I totally agree, and in honor of your suggestion, I propose that today be Unsung Kevin Day!

wonder how that'll look on a card.

Graham Brown said...

Let me get this straight - Kevin picks the lottery numbers for you - you win the Scrooge McDuck fund and then Kevin gets to... rub your shoulders and work for you??? How very Dr. Evil-esque - I'm impressed.

Great post Becks.

Rebecca Cantrell said...

Bwa-ha-ha-ha!!!

I mean, gee, thanks, Graham for pointing that out.
It would be awful to exploit Kevin that way. How could I?

Graham Brown said...

No its a good thing - you just drive a hard bargain. That's all. :)

Rebecca Cantrell said...

Thanks, Graham, for letting me off the hook!