Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day for Writers

I’m thinking about Labor Day and what it means to writers, especially those whose writing income is not a reliable indicator of the labor they expend. Does Labor Day have a relevance for them?

Writers think of their efforts as a labor of love, and indeed we are often asked to contribute to various creative projects for no (or very little) pay because they have been conceived and executed as labors of love. (I sometimes think this phrase should be amended to labors we love.)

Authors, particularly first-time authors, think of the process of publication as giving birth and we all know what precedes a birth: labor.

We say we are laboring away at a manuscript, especially one that seems not to be giving much back in return.

So, writers, on Labor Day, think about it: value the effort, the craft work, the mental energy, the work ethos, the physical time spent at the task of writing. Maybe you are even today working on a poem, article, query, chapter, essay, blog post, short story, or other piece of writing. If so, take a minute to celebrate and recognize the labor it entails.

And while we are at it -- those of us who can devote more time than might ordinarily be available to our writing, or who were able to get the education necessary to launch writing careers directly because of someone else’s labor -- maybe today is a good time to say thanks.

P.S. And for those crazy, wonderful, exhausted writers who are participating in the Three Day Novel challenge this weekend -- get out of here. You have a book to finish!


Lindsay Price said...

Ah yes, I love when artists are expected to do something for free because we 'love' it. Nobody would ask an accountant to do taxes for free.

I love the notion that we should think about the value of our work and the value of the effort that goes into our work.

Al said...

Interesting post, and enjoyed reading the analogy of a first time author's labor with birth.