Wednesday, April 11, 2018


What's the difference between me (and other professional writers) and a professional athlete? You know, like those talented young folk now showing us their skills and brilliance at the Commonwealth Games?

Let me tell you.

I had to have a job unconnected with being a writer, which enabled me to earn a living. In my spare time I laboured alone to hone my craft. I sacrificed time and money I could ill afford, sending manuscripts off by snail mail (back in the day), buying self-help books, attending courses, etc, etc. Eventually I made it, and started to get paid. A bit. I still had to fork out money to help me -- attending conventions, for example, and I still had to work. 

After some 10+ years, I actually made enough to earn a living (although I doubt it was enough to support a whole growing family--but by then my family was grown).

Now let's look at athletes. They also had a talent and a passion, probably noticed while they were still at school. They came to the attention of sporting bodies or trainers. Like me, they worked hard. Unlike me, they had so much help. They had trainers. They had encouragement or paid professionals devoted helping them, along with tech experts, videos and science labs... Most would have had financial help, perhaps in kind, or even in cash. They were sent off to compete at meets, in and out of Asutralia, mostly not at their own expense.

And now we hail them as heroes, mention them on TV, applaud their achievements, offer them endorsements, free trips and adulation. Good for them.

What I wonder is why do they deserve it, and we writers don't? Why is there so little money for us, especially while we are still struggling? Why do we give so much adulation to athletes and not to writers -- to physical achievements, not intellectual ones?

I'd do it all over again, mind you, and I don't regret a minute of time spent on my writing career, and I'm very thankful for the financial help I have had (from the Public Lending Rights for example) --but I do wonder sometimes about the imbalance ...