Saturday, September 17, 2011

Harlan Ellison: Writers Need To Be Paid

When I read this blog post -- Un-Screwing The Writer -- I immediately thought of Dean Wesley Smith. Those of you who follow Dean's blog know why.

The video is short (3 mins or so) and eye-opening. It is of sci-fi legend Harlan Ellison ranting about the assumption that writers don't need to be paid for their work. I read what I've just written and think: Of course writers need to get paid for their work, it seems glaringly obvious, but as Harlan Ellison notes, all too often it doesn't happen.


  1. “Are they any less the media whore than I? I think not. I sell my soul, but for the highest rate.” -Harlan Ellison

    This was great, though now I feel a little like an underpaid, undervalued- how did Ellison put it? Oh yeah, I feel like a cheap whore. That's tough. Not without truth, but still tough to hear.

    But giving away writing for free, that's what we need to do, right? A give and take that will hopefully come back to the writer in the form of volume rather than large, up-front payments.

  2. It's interesting you say that; what else is blogging but giving one's writing away for free? I thought about that for a bit after I put up this post.

    But Ellison is a legend, a veteran of the craft. He isn't just starting out (like me), he has been through the school of life and it has shaped him into a mature, skilled, writer. I'm just starting out, I'm still learning.

    You see this number scattered around the internet: 1,000,000. The idea being that to reach competence in writing that you have to write a 1,000,000 words. I'm probably still on the upward side of that hike, just crawling up to the summit.

    In a sense, writing this blog is practice for me, it's getting my first 1,000,000 words. And, as a bonus, I get to meet wonderful people I would never have otherwise. :-)


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