How To Have A Successful Unpaid Career In Writing

index writer

5876 embryoWhen I was just a young embryo first starting out in life I knew exactly who, and what I wanted to be… Bill Gates. But, since that embryo had already been taken, I settled on becoming an embryo with a burning desire to write instead.

I knew right from the start, being a writer was for everyone! I mean, look at how many unpaid writer’s there are out there—and that’s just on WordPress alone! Many of them writing by day, some by night, others by candlelight—paying utility bills is a luxury bloggers can’t afford.

But, when you decide on a career as an unpaid writer, like I did… you expect to starve.

Yet I knew, if I stood out from all the other writers already out there… that would eventually mean I would have to start making me some money. So, when my career as a counterfeiter eventually ended… I went to prison. There, another writer and I decided to split the rent and share a cell together.

We wrote on the walls a lot in those days.

I guess none of it was worth publishing though, as no one ever came knocking on our cell with a cash advance. In time, we went our separate ways, he through a drain pipe, and I over the wall. But, those years we spent together writing graffiti… prepared me for the rejection slips to come.

I honed my skill at rejection by sending many of my writings to one place after another. Sometimes they were threats to the police, blackmail notes to the very very wealthy, and dirty lust filled letters to Zooey Deschanel. Each one came back stamped with the same familiar refrain… “REJECTED!”  zooey-deschanel-6169-6356-hd-wallpapers

Undaunted, I continued to send the same lust filled letters I had once sent to Zooey, but this time to the police. Finally, instead of receiving rejection slips, I was received slips stamped…”AMUSING.” The size large women’s slips were often autographed. I knew Olga (my old prison guard) wouldn’t forget me.

Now, having been sexually aroused, I began writing for Playboy Magazine. They never bought anything from me, but I never stopped writing to them, in hopes of becoming an unpaid published staff writer. In fact, I nearly gave up the whole idea of writing for a possible career in photography, thanks to (LOOKING at), uh… I mean… reading Playboy.

But, photographing men wasn’t my cup of tea. I mean… Playboy?

I was then asked to consider taking up journalism, but my heart was still set on being a writer. I finally settled on the style of writer I wanted to be, that of a humorist. I even wrote former humor columnist, Dave Berry, and told him that if he could be considered a humorist, then anybody could.

Dave Berry-Writer and Humorist

Dave Berry-Writer and Humorist

He replied to my letter saying that his attorneys would be in contact with me concerning slander. I was genuinely touched by his kind gesture. And, I’m sure at some point they would have gotten around to mentioning some six or seven figure number to me. But, I didn’t want to work for some rag writing untruths.

So, here I am, the successfully gifted unpaid semi-professional writer you see before you today, blogging on WordPress for nothing. Yep, I’m living the dream. I can hear you all now, “But Paul, your readers don’t pay for it.”

And there you’d be wrong my friends.

Oh they’re paying for it—every time they happen to read anything I post on this blog.

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80 comments on “How To Have A Successful Unpaid Career In Writing

  1. I slipped and hit send before I was finished…
    Keep on with your wiring and I’ll happily keep on reading for free! 😘

  2. From what I’ve been told, the surefire way for humor writers to earn money is (a.) stop being a humor writer, and (b.) go out and earn money. Apparently, the two are opposing forces that cannot coexist in the natural world. (Which might explain why all the rich humor writers live in Hollywood.)

    I once asked Woody Allen what his secret for success was. And he said, “This is a closed set. Someone get this creep out of here!” But the frantic, high-pitched way he said it only made everybody laugh, which goes to show that nobody takes you seriously when you write humor.

    • Allen, as you know, humor writing is sacred stuff. Give it up? Why that’s sacrilegious! And go out and earn money? What a concept! As humorist, you and I, we can just call ourselves evangelist, and money will just come pouring in…TAX FREE! But, while not trying to bring religion into this discussion, were these…Jewish nobodies we’re talking about who didn’t take our written humor seriously? I mean, that’s Hollywood in a nutshell! 😀

  3. Hey! I made seven dollars and fifty cents last month from my writing! Course it took twenty years and three books and since I’m also an editor it may be some other book (or my mother) that made me that windfall but never give up hope! I mean, I almost made enough money for a cup of coffee! ; )

    • LOL Almost two cups! Well, if I ever get around to doing a book (if only I knew how to put one together for Amazon-but for now the world can rest easy) I’ll let you edit my mess. Then you’ll really wish you hit that windfall, Jan. :O)

  4. Hey, we appear to share the same unpaid profession, although I’m not sure which of us is unpaid more. I enjoyed the post and can only say that being threatened with slander by Dave Barry’s lawyers would be considered a career high by anyone. Nobody famous ever threatened to sue me, sadly.

    Incidentally, congratulations on your fictitious Pulitzer.

    • You noticed my Pulitzer! I wanted to display it for all to see—seeing as so fictitious (okay, a big fat lie) of an award should be rubbed in the face of others—but alas, I have no mantel. To use a sophisticated idiom, if I may (in hopes of persuading Columbia University into adding a 22nd category to the Pulitzer), “More’s the pity.” 😀

  5. Paul. You’re the very best successful unpaid career writer of humor I know. Besides you wouldn’t want to be paid. Money will mess with your inspiration and you’ll develop writer’s block or become uninspired. We wouldn’t want that now, would we?

  6. Lol! So funny- I love your sense of humor! Also reading this took up about 3 minutes of my day, so technically I’ve paid you with 3 minutes. Unfortunately for you, as another unpaid writer/drawer/thrower of things- I don’t make money per hour. I actually just cost roughly about $3 per hour to maintain my current lifestyle. So if I earned $3 an hour, that would be like I was donating $9 worth of my time to you- but since I earn -$3 per hour I think that means you owe me $9. I’m pretty sure I have that right, but I’ve had a couple of glasses of wine tonight so I’m really not totally sure.

    Anyhow, keep writing. I’ll keep reading.

    • LOL! 😀 Now I’m absolutely sure I’ve downed a keg! I lost count of how much my writing had set you back after you said $ 3.00 an hour. It was at this point I looked down at the bottom of the keg and decided I needed another. But, nope, my new math failed me again. If my calculations are correct, I’m pretty sure your the most interesting woman in the world! Stay thirsty my friend.

  7. Ok oops apparently wine, time, and basic math arithmetic don’t go well together. I guess the above comment only works if it took me 3 hours to read your post, or I were making/costing $180 an hour. Both of those things aren’t true. Sorry about the bad math, but you know, the point stands.

  8. Well, at least we are all or most of us are in the same boat.Keep those fingers typing on the keyboard and maybe someday one of the many bloggers will be rich and famous.

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