The Job

What the hell, I was talent.  I didn’t particularly want to give up my rights to own my work, but I wasn’t making any money writing anyway.  This was an opportunity to make money writing, to support myself doing what I loved to do.  In the end would I feel like I was used?  I don’t know.  They were taking a big risk giving me a one-year contract to write.  They didn’t know if they would be able to sell any of my ideas or not.  And they were going to be out $30,000 no matter what.  So what if they could make a lot more than that.  Would they?  Could I?  Those were the questions.  And the realistic answer to the first one was maybe, and to the second one, no.

So I took the job.  It was a great opportunity I thought.  All I had to do was write a story every day, and I would keep my job.  It didn’t have to be good.  It just had to be a story.  It just had to be fiction (or sound like it).  And they would have all rights and ownership in everything I wrote for them.  After a year I would be on my own, and I wouldn’t be able to use any of those story ideas that I wrote for them.  They could try to sell them or have other writers develop them, or do whatever they wanted.  All I would get would be credit for the “original story idea”

The stories didn’t have to be long.  They didn’t have to be good.  Their entire business strategy relied upon the assumption that they would eliminate writers block for people they thought had a natural talent, by removing the author’s own high standards, by removing ownership, by forcing them to write something that could very well be junk, utter garbage, just to earn a paycheck.  They had faith that if pushed the natural talent would come out, even when the author himself didn’t recognize it.  Out of 240 working days in a year, they would have 240 stories.  If I didn’t turn in a story one day, I would have to take vacation, or a dock in pay.  So I would have a story.  No matter how bad it had to be, I would write one.

It was an experiment for me too.  I was interested in what would happen.  I actually had no idea.  But I would be paid, and I would be writing.  And I liked that.  And so I wrote.  And I wrote.  And I wrote.  And one day, this was what I wrote.

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