Sunday, September 17, 2017

A PSA for the Non-Creatives Looking for Favors/Work from Creatives

This is a PSA for all you non-creatives out there. This is also for those of you who have never tried to enlist the "services" of another creative (whether that be music, art, writing, sculpture, fashion, whatever...), but may want to. Please pay attention.

I've been writing since I was in elementary school. I've been doing it seriously since about 2005, hoping to one day teach it at the college level because I'm a whore for language. I've also been a DJ since around 2000/2001 because I'm a whore for music (but I've loved music since I was mad young). These are my passions and I have spent an uncountable number of hours, full days, full months (possibly full years at this point) practicing, perfecting, researching, trying/failing, performing/bombing, experimenting, schooling (myself and others), and living these two artistic mediums.

I've been asked on numerous occasions to help people out with their various projects. Some I've been more than happy to help on; the time and effort required by me was minuscule or I was paying back a favor or another creative simply needed a hand. Other times have left me scratching my head - like having multiple people ask if I'll write their books for them. While I'm honored, that's not really what I do; I don't ghostwrite. I will, however, help edit, review, give notes, or general (or specific) opinions on how you should approach your project. But understand, the more time it requires of me, the more money it will require from you. My "expertise," such as it is, in both of these mediums comes at a price.

You may see my posts about new stories getting picked up for publication or the times I've done readings. You've certainly seen my annoying posts trying to hype my debut story collection (of which I most certainly made sure to pay the artist that did the cover art and the logistics of making that happen). What you don't see are the full Saturdays or Sundays where I go through my absurdly long list of places to publish, double-check that I've not submitted there recently, and spend the next several hours sending out submissions.

What you don't see the 40 rejection letters I get in a single month. You don't see me pacing my apartment floor trying to figure out if the concept I'm working on is something I'm both enjoying AND that others will enjoy. You don't see the notes I scribble out onto spare slips of paper or in an app on my phone for later use. You don't see me vacillate between ideas, hoping one works better than another. And you damn sure don't see me, splayed out on my living room floor, writing (or trying to write) from early Saturday morning to early Sunday morning on the weekends I'm not sending out story submissions.

And this kind of behavior isn't just indicative of writing or music. The other artistic disciplines require the same kind of patience, practice, number of failures, number of successes, and those artists get the same kind of people asking for those artistic favors to be doled out like candy simply because they're not able to do it themselves.

We, the creators, have been putting in the work since day one. It is annoying and it is disrespectful of the talent and the time required of us to become just good enough that you would ask of them those particular favors and NOT seem to understand that payment would be required. This goes for any non-creative work as well; plumbers, interior decorators, accountants, lawyers, whatever...but this seems to be most prevalent in industries dominated by creative output. Quit asking favors of people who have taken the time to be excellent at what they do. 
Bottom line: if you expect someone to create (or do) something for you, expect to pay for that product or service. We done paid our dues and it's not unfair for us to start collecting on them.