Thursday, January 20, 2011

Guilty of Prostitution

a person who willingly uses his or her talent or ability in a base and unworthy way, usually for money.
Okay, I've skirted around this issue long enough.  I felt so excited to have the time and focus to write full time when I began this project last Summer.  Then as finances grew tighter and revenue streams dried up I became more and more distracted by money and my writing began to suffer.  I felt a distinct loss of imagination, creativity, motivation and my writing practically stopped.  In the mean time my attention turned to other important and very gratifying activities of service and companionship.

The ever pressing need for money drove me back to the keyboard time and time again, but there was little that came to my mind or fingertips.

I began seriously writing in my recovery program from addiction.  I was astonished at what I could discover by asking questions and seeking answers on the written page.  More and more I wrote.  More and more I felt knowledge and understanding streaming into my conscious awareness.  Some say we all have it in us we just have to dig it out.  Writing is the spade.  While there is truth to that, to be sure.  I feel certain that there is also a large measure of actual revelation involved in the process.

I write to discover and refine my understanding of myself, of life, of God and of my circumstances.  When I began to think of writing as a career that all changed.  Unavoidably, I began to write for money.  In doing so the color, texture, taste, smell and joy of discovery largely disappeared.  "You cannot serve God and Mammon," Jesus declared.  I am finally willing to admit that He was right.

I need to parenthetically mention that I am more than grateful that others have written books and shared their wisdom, knowledge, imagination and insight with me.  I do not condemn them in any way.  Where would I be without them and their wonderful inspiration?  I do not begrudge them the blessing of revenue from their efforts.  All I am saying here is that I am unable to do that.  I have tried.  I have tried and tried to keep my focus on the subjects at hand, but always, in the back of my mind, was the nagging question of whether or not my writing would sell.  That niggling undercurrent has ruined the process for me and as of today will stop.

I am taking the tip jar off my blog.  Also all advertising.  I am no longer going to pursue publication of any of my work.  I will put it all online, complete or not for you to use or reject as suits you.  I no longer intend to profit from the gifts God has so generously granted me.  Every time I write something that lifts, inspires and changes me, I am already recipient of such good, kind grace from God that it seems a violation to seek monetary gain from it as well.

I have always been uncomfortable with what I call "Marketing Mormonism."  I remain so.  As I said before, it puts me between a rock and a hard place because I don't know what I'd do if I no could no longer visit Deseret Book.  I love perusing the shelves and shelves of creative thought and inspiration.  Coming to the conclusion that such a course is not for me has been a difficult struggle.  In the end I had to concede that I am just not cut out for self promotion, or from profiting from God's liberal gifts.

I have come to realize that were I to be a successful writer, especially in the genre that most of my writing fits, I would be especially vulnerable to entering into priestcraft.

Alma 1:16
Nevertheless, this did not put an end to the spreading of priestcraft through the land; for there were many who loved the vain things of the world, and they went forth preaching false doctrines; and this they did for the sake of riches and honor.
I suspect that one does not necessarily have to preach false doctrine in order to practice priestcraft.  Even true doctrine taught for the sake of vanity, wealth and honor, to my mind, is suspect when it comes to priestcraft. I hope with all my heart that I have never preached false doctrine.  Would that more readers would comment; most especially to challenge notions I have that may not bear up under the scrutiny of the truth.  Yet I can imagine how easy it would be, for the sake of wealth and influence, to doctor up the truth to make it more marketable.  Heaven forbid.

This morning, I haven't a clue as to what my financial future might hold.  Nor can I conceive of how I can possibly make ends meet.  But I finally realize that is a separate issue and so I want to make it plain that I will no longer prostitute my talent (such as it is) for fame or money.

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