Scratch: Writers, Money, and the Art of Making a Living

I haven’t considered myself a writer for quite sometime now, perhaps not since college. Sure, I write hastily-crafted, disorganized reviews, and occasionally my muse returns from her travels around the globe to bless me with a few paragraphs of drivel, but the serious writing, the kind that you live for, well, that followed my undergrad degree into oblivion. Even though I rarely write anymore, I love to read, obviously, and I love to read other writers talk about their craft, and in this case, about the business side of their craft. As a society, we still mostly talk about money only in hushed tones, and as for writing, well, you talk about your love of the art, not what it yields in dollars and sense. In this essay collection, edited by the amazing Manjula Martin, writers open up about the finance of their writing, how the money affects their passion (or doesn’t in some cases). From humble beginnings to FAQs on buying a house with your hard-written dollars, these essays offer a wide variety of topics from some great voices.

Seriously, I had my phone out with each new essay, finding the writer on social media if they weren’t already on my dashboards. I saw some of my own experiences reflected back at me, and I gained a lot of insight from different perspectives. If you’re a writer, this book might help you get a handle on some of the less talked about issues of the profession, and even if you’re not and love reading, it gets inside the minds of some of the coolest people writing today.

It did take me longer than normal to finish this one, but I didn’t want to rush through it at my desk on my lunch hour, or grab a few pages here and there between other things, but it’s a great book to do just that. You can definitely leave on your nightstand, for something quick in between other works or for winding down five to ten minutes before bed. I saved it for the end of my day, when I could sit down in my comfy reading chair and fully absorb two or three essays at a time. That doesn’t mean it was an intense or daunting read at all. Their lengths are as diverse as their voices, and the variety of stories made me want to keep going, to keep discovering new things.

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