In the next blog post you’ll read, I’ll begin detailing a project which I’ll be working on without being paid. All of this: the website, hours of work, dozens of poems… I’m not paid for any of it. The single contest I’ve won, thus far, reimbursed me the ten quid train fare bought when I went to perform the poem live. A number of people have generously donated cash, over the last year… but no, I make nothing long-term as a writer at present.

Why on earth begin a major project when there’s nothing for me at the end of it?

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I am incredibly lucky with my personal circumstances, no doubt about it. There is a level of financial stability to do multiple things at once right now without major concern: the biggest single issue encountered, without fail, is finding the hours in order to complete anything major. It requires considerable planning and effort, something I’ve been mentally unable to complete until now. 

Success has for many years equated to the need to provide a pay-cheque at the end. If you’re not making money, you can’t be successful, and yup, that’s true to a point. Except, to be noticed and get a chance at publication in a marketplace saturated with other writers, you need to be very, very good. What happens therefore when you just want to create something that makes you happy, keeps you busy, and can give people enjoyment?

Should it even matter that I make money for everything that’s produced?

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This upcoming project was never designed to make me rich, but as a means by which I could show capability of producing content to a specific timescale, with my rules and objectives. The overriding point isn’t to get rich, but to be happy and give back to my home town something intangible. It’s not about cash, because in the end I’d be doing all of this regardless, for my own benefit. This is a personal labour of love.

In a world increasingly obsessed with capitalism, writing without a pay-cheque becomes less of an issue over time. My enjoyment, ultimately, is grasped in the production of work, the process of creation. Effort in promoting, multiple attempts to find anyone interested in publication, ceaseless parade of submissions and rejections doesn’t make me happy. Writing makes me happy.

This project is about making me happy.

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Now motivation is out of the way, it’s time to consider inspiration.