(Not) Writing For Money


I met my neighbor at the gym- she’s a professional writer- and we ended up chatting on our way back to North Beach through parks and alleys, until our paths split. She was surprised that my day job didn’t involve writing, since we usually talk about each other’s novels in progress, and she knows I’m a blogeuse. We ended up talking quite a bit about that unique situation of writing for money. I admitted that I’d had a couple of bad editors, and I didn’t want to risking that again (17 revisions of a 200+ page manual. D’oh!). She was a web editor for a while, and had some funny stories about bad writers. The “I’m working on the greatest American novel” copywriters who can’t write a direct sentence to save their life. “So uh, why would I read your novel?”

I feel such freedom, a kind of chippy eagerness, when I do database work after a long spell of writing. When an ETL (extract, transfer, load) works quickly and efficiently like I’d planned. Of course, too much time doing it and I begrudge staying up until 1am to get a x-million record set loaded, and wonder why my life is spent with these inanimate cold machines called computers. Database code (SQL) and programming seem so super-pragmatic compared to stories. They actually *do* something.

When I made my fateful trip at 24 years to Paris, I had a hard time explaining in employment agencies that I was a marketer, and programmer. It didn’t make sense in their eyes. It’s strange to me, then, that lately there are two intersections of writing and programming- annaboka.com, my biz idea, and blogging about work. One of the things that will hopefully make Annaboka work is an understanding of the library system and categorization of books, and being able to build it out myself. The workblog- well, writing about this stuff is easy, since I think an read about it every day, and simply write down an opinionated line or two. Of course the harder-wrought posts are better, and the ones that require research, testing, and analysis.

I don’t rescind my points on the other post about writing for money- in reality these situations where I get compensated are stressful, and essentially you have to have some success to get to the position where you get paid for writing. It’s a Catch-22. When the situations pass, I’m completely relieved that I can just write whatever I want with no parameters, except the tough ones of my own making.