Edits on the novella NGD, have me seriously considering how people can survive as writers with the ebb and flow of book buying being what it is. As I’ve said before, sales numbers fluctuate so much you’ll never know one month to the next what your income will be.
Survival is an interesting thing. It causes humans to do some interesting things. It brings out our instinctive competitive nature and gives us a glimpse of the beast within. You can see the instinct of survival in everything the average human does. In the workplace it takes on the form of office politics. In social circles it rears its ugly head under the guise of “cliques”.
Sure, we’re not talking about survival in its most basic sense, like some guy going out and killing dinner for his family. But rather fighting to keep his job and throwing other people under the bus so they’re laid off before him, or getting a promotion by sabotaging a co-worker also up for the same position. After all, job = money = food/clothing/roof.
Socially the clique serves the purpose matching males to females for breeding. Once you’re paired off and your social clique becomes other couples you’ll often notice the competition and drama tends to drop drastically. That isn’t to say there isn’t drama in any group situation (there’s always the power struggle for who’s top dog or who gets to hang out with the top dog), it’s just that older people who’ve already found a mate no longer need to give a shit about what Mary said about the clothes they were wearing unless Mary has been making goo-goo eyes at their mate and there’s a direct threat to one’s security.
In writing there’s survival of the fittest, too. The people who want to survive, to make a writing income to help their family survive, will oftentimes sacrifice writing what they *want* to write in favor of writing what will sell or make the most money. The writers who don’t compromise on their “art” are most likely destined to be destitute, poor, and without a reading audience whereas the authors willing to compromise and willing to feed the machine will do well and make money. I always wondered why so many people were willing to change their entire book just to get a publishing contract and now I know. Survival.
There’s something to be said about working on the project that you know will guarantee you $100 before the month is out vs. the book that you have no idea how it’s going to do when it’s finally done. There’s more motivation there. Just a thought anyway.