If My Demands Aren't Met There Will Be Blood
by Bethany Maines
So this is a blog, right? That means I can I rant? I can just have a bit of a shouty fest for a minute and no one will mind? Whew… because I’ve been hoarding this one for a day or two.
I’m a writer and a graphic designer and I work from home. And apparently that’s the trifecta for someone to suggest that I play all day and get paid for it. “Must be a sweet gig!” Yeah… there is some of that, but I have to say that the best part about working from home is that I generally get more laundry done.
There also appears to be a misconception among the general public that the only thing separating them from something that I do is a tool. With knowledge of Photoshop they too can be a graphic designer! (Actually, only using Photoshop gets you pretty much bupkiss. You don’t even know how much you don’t know!! Gah!). And of course, anyone can write, because, you know, that’s just typing. Apparently, it’s rather rude to reply to someone’s face that while yes, anyone can write, not everyone can write well (then stare meaningfully at them with a raised eyebrow). The underlying prejudice is that authors and creative types don’t work.
As I was going through school I remember a story about one graduate who had a mind-numbingly boring job (cutting paper, I can explain if you really want to know), but my professor couched the story as though it were great thing. This person, my professor said, could rest their brain all day and then pursue their true passion at night. And I remember thinking… “Well, that’s crap.” That’s like trying to work out at the end of the day – you never really want to do it, no matter how boring the day job was. Why? Because, believe it or not, creativity is work.
Don’t be fooled by the stereotypes of long-haired ex-pats drinking wine Pamplona and churning out novels on a whim. Artists and writers work at their craft. It takes hours, sometimes many hours (sometimes more hours than you put in at your office job – more pointed staring), to come up with a creative product. I do not sit down at my computer and 20 minutes later produce a logo. (Ok, there was that one time, but that was an act of God, and I still went back and refined it later.) Each book I produce is a culmination months (if not years) of my life. I’m not suggesting that my work is a trial – I generally love my work. But to suggest that it’s something I haven’t trained and studied for and that I don’t put in work to achieve it devalues me and it devalues my work. So you, Joe Public (yes, I’m looking at you), stop doing it.
Thus endth the rant.