Thursday, 5 May 2011

Cringe-worthy Question

There's a question other writers ask me that makes me flush and gets my pulse racing. 

Not in a good way, either. 

The question? "Will you look at my stuff and tell me if I'm on the right track?"

I suppose I should be flattered to be considered a good enough writer that anyone would ask me my opinion. I remember being surprised when my local community college asked me to teach their creative writing classes.

"Me? You want me to teach somebody else how to write?" 

I had published three novels (albeit with independent, small presses) but I think the average reader out there doesn't really care who publishes you - they see your book with your name on it, and that's good enough for them. So the college figured I must know something worth teaching.

I was paid for the hours I taught in the classroom. I wasn't paid for the many hours I spent critiquing the homework I gave my students. So when a student would hand me fifty more pages of their work-in-progress, I would grit my teeth and marvel at their cheek. 

I guess they figured I had lots of spare time and reading their work was some kind of honor. I don't know. But I do know how doctors, lawyers, accountants, horticulturalists, pick-any-profession-you-want-and-put-it-here - must feel at parties when people approach them and ask - 'can you take a look at my - back, custody case, budget, backyard garden - and give me your opinion?'

Professional opinions cost time and effort, which translates into compensation. Professionals should be compensated for their time and effort. Money is the common form of compensation. Enough said. 

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  1. Hah! Yours is like the third blog I've been to recently that explored this subject. Interesting.

  2. Thanks for the comment, Anita. Yes, I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels this way.