Wednesday, January 7, 2009

When I speak to writers --- I haven't had any engagements to speak to artisans yet --- I sometimes feel like the schoolboy being shaken down by bullies in front of the school who want my lunch money. I don't have any to give them. I have no advice about the art of writing; I am not qualified to help them. I don't feel confident that I am at that level as a writer that I should be giving advice about writing above and beyond what I give in my critiquing group where the people know and accept me.

Anyway, it's like I'm standing there with my pockets turned inside out and I have to say that all my money is in taxation know-how.

Every writer must look in the mirror. They must face themselves truthfully and honestly there. Just like Snow White's mother-in-law --- Was it Snow White or Sleeping Beauty? My memory is so bad. --- they must assess their beauty in terms of their craft in the mirror. And what they see there might --- probably will --- let them know that someone else in the realm is looking better, sometimes much better, than they are. Now, they might not like that, denying it for a period of time and then grousing about it and trying to take revenge or manipulate the matter. They might even tell the mirror it has no room to talk, that they've seen better looking mirrors, but eventually they must, at the risk of the rest of the fairytale and how it turned out, accept their place in the writing craft. They will have to work harder.

Not only must writers accept their place in the writing craft and the fact that they might have to work harder, but they must also face up to the notion that they have to, if they are serious about writing as a profession, conduct their writing as a business. Not all businesses make money. Especially during the startup period.

I often wonder about the early years of successful writers, people like Steven King or the latest phenomenon, Stephanie Meyer. During the period before their careers as writers took off, they must have suffered losses . I wonder how many of them claimed losses relative to their writing on their income tax returns during those early years before the profits started coming in.

Anyway, in future postings I will be telling about a few writers that claimed losses in their early years as they began writing and then eventually got audited by the IRS.

Taxation isn't the most exciting topic. Most people involved in it have accountant-like personalities, often they are stereotyped as introverts. It reminds me of the question: how do you identify an extroverted accountant? Answer: When he talks to you he looks at your shoes instead of his own.

Incidentally, his shoes are spit-polished. Or not.

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