Last month, Rita Arens handed me an envelope at the BlogHer Business conference. I took it home and opened it, retrieving a thank you note and three crisp twenty dollar bills.
That $60 meant even more than paychecks I’ve received with far more zeros at the end.
There is something immeasurably gratifying about getting paid for your writing, at whatever sum, at whatever level you are. Not writing bad commercials for breakfast cereal although that can be fun too, but writing that comes from your heart. About your life. About things that matter to you not because you’re paid to care about them but because they’re the fabric of your soul. And that little smirk from a trio of Thomas Jeffersons – or even Abe Lincolns – validates the fact that that even though we all “just write for ourselves” (uh-huh) that it’s never really just for ourselves.
If a writer writes in a forest – or, more often, her bedroom at 3 am while the baby screams in the crib next door – and there’s no one there to hear…
You may have heard a bit about Sleep is For the Weak, the anthology of essays from parent bloggers that Rita conceived of, assembled, proposed, shopped, defended, tweaked, rewrote, rewrote again and sold to Chicago Press pretty much single-handedly.
This book is the result of one woman doing what most people only ever talk about. That’s my kinda woman.
The author list is absolutely amazing – bloggers you know, and bloggers you don’t but should. I am honored to be among them, more than you can imagine; when Rita first approached me I hadn’t been blogging a year. I was surprised she had even heard of me and I quite literally felt unworthy. I would have certainly contributed for free. I can only wish that any one of you who has ever dreamed of publishing something gets to experience that feeling – and that books like these open the door to make that happen for more of us.
Cut to many months later, sixty dollars, yadda yadda yadda…
And I hope you will. Because the one thing that makes a writer weepy, even more than money, is an audience that actually care what she has to say once in a while.