Wednesday, October 18, 2017

5 Ways Writers Are A Lot Like Prostitutes

They're skilled, glamorous, exotic, and more than a little edgy. You watch them on the Internet, and you listen to interviews with them, and you think that, maybe, you could do what they do. Some day.

I'm technically talking about being a writer, but I suppose the same thing could apply to being a high-class escort.

You want a package deal, or are we going by the word, here?
I've had a long week, and I'm feeling a little ragged round the edges. So I thought I'd do something that's mostly silly, but with a grain of truth lodged in the middle of it to kind of hold the premise together. So, let's get started, shall we?

#1: We Have An "Exotic" Profession

Let's get the low-hanging fruit out of the way first. If you're a writer, and especially if you write some kind of fiction, you're seen as something unusual by people who never venture too far out of the realms of normalcy. People are often impressed, thinking that writers are men and women who live in unusual places, like communes by the sea, or forgotten manor houses in New England. They can't believe that we're people, and we do things like shop for pants, meet for breakfast, or go to the gym.

Sort of the same with prostitutes. People know they exist, but they sort of forget that they take off their work clothes, and go back to being normal people when their job is done.

#2: People Can't Believe We Get Paid For That

Psh, they get paid how much to do that? Well, hell, how hard can it be? I do that for free, and I've never had any complaints.

I'm sure that sex workers will hear this diatribe a lot more often than writers do, but we're no strangers to the spiel. Because a lot of people write in their free time, and they happen to think they're pretty good. But they don't seem to realize there's a big difference between the stories you share with your partner in the privacy of your own home, and the leap it takes to do it full-time. Whether you're in the mood, or not.

#3: We Don't Make Anywhere Near What You Think We Do

I blame TV for this one. The only depictions we ever seem to get on most shows (even on a lot of cop dramas), is writers with literal millions to throw around on whatever whimsical thing they feel like doing. Even in old-fashioned shows like Murder She Wrote, the writer in question never seems to be hurting for resources, despite being independently employed, and a senior citizen, meaning all those health bills are coming out of her pocket.

Prostitutes get a lot of the same rap in our fiction. Because while we see plenty of independents getting booked, or becoming victim of the week, the recurring characters all seem to be madams, high-priced call girls, or similarly glamorous, independent women (never seem to be a lot of men, but I don't watch as much TV as I used to).

Even the best of us aren't making that much cash. And those who are, man, they know how to hustle.

#4: People Can't Believe We Expect Them To Pay For Service

What do you mean you're gonna charge me? Come on, we're friends, aren't we? Really? Seriously, it will take you, like, half an hour!

If you're good at something, never do it for free. While that might be how the saying goes, the world seems to think the exact opposite most of the time. People are more than willing to acknowledge your skill, and that you are the best they know at the trade... but they will still pitch a fit if you expect them to pay rates like some kind of client!

#5: Clients Don't Want To Hear No

Now, this one is a serious issue, and I wanted to take a moment to point that out. People who are not willing to take no for an answer is one of the primary ways sex workers are put in danger by their clients, and it's also one of the primary causes of sexual harassment.

With that said, I've lost track of the number of clients who seem to develop selective deafness when it comes to things I won't do. Whether it's genres I don't work in, being vague about when and how I'll be paid, or me pointing out that what they're asking for is way beyond the scope of what I'm willing to do, they've settled in their minds that it's my job to make their vision into a reality. They just seem to forget that I have to agree to take the job for that to happen.

While this might have been a silly Business of Writing entry, hopefully some folks found it amusing. Next week we're back to Craft, and I'll be talking about much more serious subjects. If you enjoyed this post, and you want to keep up to date on my work, follow me on Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter. Lastly, if you want to toss some support my way, head over to The Literary Mercenary's Patreon page.


  1. You mean all these years I thought I was a bona fide scribe, and in fact, I’m just really…a whore?! Oh well. At least I’m good at something.

  2. Very nice post.really I apperciate your blog.Thanks for sharing.keep sharing more blogs.