Today Topaz Winters wrote a fabulous blog post about art and writing and Patreon. But most of all it was about the idea that art has value, and that artists deserve to be supported.
I admit my first response to this post was one of frustration, not at her, but at the fact that she needs to write this post at all. My first response was “do people care so little about the arts that it means nothing to them now?” Then I took a step back and realized that I needed to write a blog post about this.
Imagine for a moment that Topaz, or I or any other struggling writer you know was not a writer, but instead were creating homemade soaps and lotions. Or maybe I’m making bath bombs, or just something DIY and selling it. Would you ask me why I’m asking for payment? No of course not. I’ve put hard work into these projects. In fact once I actually start the business, I can raise the prices because these products are homemade and organic. You expect a good price for quality work.
So why is writing and art any different? I assure you, Topaz spends just as many hours working her craft as someone who makes soaps. Just like our creative DIY people, she has to spend money on supplies and/or hosting fees, just like the people in my example. So what’s so different about writing that people can’t pay for it?
This isn’t the first time I’ve heard writer’s complaining about how people have offered them exposure but not payment for work. Can you imagine someone doing that to a plumber? “Hey you can fix my toilet and if you do a good job then you’ll get great exposure, but I can’t pay you.”
You might say “well, yeah, but plumbers and carpenters, etc go to trade school for their graft,” but I know a lot of people who have gone to college for writing and paid just as much for their trade as any plumber or carpenter. So why isn’t it the same?
Perhaps it’s different because it’s entertainment? But we still pay for Phone Apps, and games, and movies. Why has Clash of Clans made hundreds of millions of dollars, but no-one wants to spend that kind of money to improve the arts and support writers who are actually trying to make a difference in the world?
This is why Patreon was made. To help support arts, etc. But people need to stop treating the arts and writing like it has no value. The arts are not on some plain below luxury items or everything else that we get that we don’t need. Nobody fusses when they pay for their subscription Lush boxes, so why are we complaining about supporting the arts?