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With A Little Help From My Friends
by Ian Birnbaum
It seems like everything is all happening at once around here.
As I'm trying to ready more stories to head away to the great beyond, I have received word that a bit of my journalism has caught the attention of the Dallas Morning News, the major daily newspaper for the North Central Texas area. They now wish to photocopy my words thousands of times before hitting me in the crotch with a briefcase full of money and running away giggling. The methods and traditions of the publishing business continue to perplex me.
Understandably, this sudden thrust of professionalism has come as a bit of a shock, and I've spent most of the weekend making sure I'm not going to embarrass myself in front of the readership of the 10th-largest newspaper in the country. In light of this new deadline, coupled with a quickly-approaching end of a semester and the several papers and tests that come with it, I've decided that sleeping is for the weak and that I can function perfectly well by main-lining those little 5-hour Energy Shots. *twitch*
So I've been thinking a lot about the importance of support lately. Quite frankly, I think that, after talent and dedication, a supportive group around you can make or break a beginning writer. Sure, you might eventually write the Great American Novel in an effort to get back at them. However, given the current state of the publishing industry, going nuts with a shotgun and a club would be a much more efficient method of revenge.
My support system, rather unoriginally, consists of my family and friends. My parents still ask me to mail them copies of everything (which I'm sure are stored in an underground bunker in case someone dares claim that I don't actually exist), and my best friend honestly sounds more excited than I am about my latest progresses. But, importantly, my girlfriend is my main support. I don't think any of us could do the things we do without a significant other who cheers us on.
More than just cheers, though, my girl is a really critical part of The Plan. You know, The Plan for the next few years - and beyond. Like most things, it's simple economics. For example: say I was to come home tomorrow and slam out 10 articles for various venues, then mail them away with a 100% chance of getting them published (that won't happen, by the way). Sounds successful, right? Given that level of writing succes, I would probably starve to death. You see, those manuscripts, brilliant and money-making though they are, will not get me a single dime for a period of 2 months to a year. I may earn $30,000 in a year freelancing, but it will be $5,000 in June, $700 in July, $2,000 in August, etc. And that kind of thing just can't pay the grocery bills.
So here's to my girl! *raises beer* If she leaves me, I'll almost certainly die!
Tell me: Who is your support system? Did you ever have someone who didn't believe in you?
Ian is just discovering the wonders of a jock strap
GOod luck man! Let us know how everything turns out.
Posted by: Uber | May 1, 2007 8:57 AM
That's awesome. I think if I were to get paid for writing I'd completely freak out.
I've finally learned to write when I feel like writing and saving what I've done so that when my FTTW deadline pops up, I have something always in the can.
I can't tell you how much I've written and just deleted the next day.
For support? I'm pretty sure my wife reads my stuff but she never says anything about it other than to bring up something I've written in a coversation as if what I wrote was the beginning of the conversation.
I enjoy the actual writing, but usually don't like it when it's done so it's good to have someplace to put it where there are eyes on it. Gives me ideas on what works for other folks.
Posted by: Timmer | May 1, 2007 11:56 AM
Support system? My wife and a few friends. Everyone else - fuck 'em.
Posted by: Jimbo-sama | May 1, 2007 5:54 PM
Thanks for making me feel like a dateless loser. =)
My support system consists of nobody. My friends don't really care about what I write and don't share my enthusiasm when I sell a print or the rights to one of my photographs. I mention it to them, but I get a vibe like they resent me for getting my work out there instead of them. My dad seems genuinely happy for me, but he doesn't really like any of the music I listen to or record and when I drop names of bands and artists I get blank looks. When I used to keep a blog, he read that all the time and commented about the things I ranted and raved about, but as for music and graffiti... meh. I get more support from people I chat with via email and TF/TFMR.
So I just do it for myself. I write constantly and am out photographing things 5 days out of the week, but most of it just sits around on my computer and never gets seen by anyone. Same for the stuff I've recorded. I never put it online or distribute it, I just burn it onto a CD and file it away with the rest of my stuff. But at least I feel like I'm doing something productive instead of sitting in front of the TV night after night. That, and I don't feel like I'm creating art for anyone else... I'm creating art that I like.
Don't even get me started about ex-girlfriends... Boy, I sound bitter, don't I? =)
Posted by: Seetwist | May 1, 2007 9:17 PM
Seetwist For Christmas, I'm getting you a shotgun and a club.
Posted by: Ian | May 1, 2007 9:46 PM
Seetwist, FTTW is now the Official Support System of Seetwist.
My support comes from a turtle.
Posted by: michele | May 3, 2007 6:56 AM