Back in late 2009, and for a few years after that, I was living in a city with a high rate of unemployment. I was either under-qualified or overqualified for any job that was available. The former I understand. Lacking the proper scientific credentials, a government research lab shouldn’t hire me. Saying that I can’t stock shelves or run a cash register because I’ve got too much management experience is a bit much. They were likely afraid that I’d want more money, or get bored and quit, or try to take over running the place. So I took it upon myself to invent a job. I needed to pay the rent somehow, and one thing I could do with no real start-up costs was string words together. I write because I’m an entrepreneur.
Since moving to Finland, the situation is commensurate to my last few years in the United States. Unemployment is high. I didn’t speak the language when I arrived, and I still don’t speak it well. I don’t have a degree from a Finnish university. My job skills aren’t so specialized that there are no Finns available to fill any position I’m qualified for. Which means I keep doing the writing thing to pay the bills.
There are a lot of writers out there struggling to make a living. I’m not rich, but I manage to get the rent paid and keep food on the table. This is because I behave like a entrepreneur first, and a writer second. I’ll cop to being a hack. While I would love to be in it for the art, and do my best to practice craft as much as possible, my motivation is money. I make choices based on what will sell. It’s not that I use my business degree to sell my writing. My writing is the product that I have available to sell as a businessman.
A lot of people will have a problem with that. A while back someone had an issue with me referring to my books as “products” rather than works of art. As long as people enjoy them, find them useful, and get value for their money, who cares about semnatics? It’s not like I’m undermining the field or literature or ripping people off. To make a modest living creating something that gets read beats making high art that no one will ever get to see.
You can read more about Why I Write here.