Writing is the best job in the world. Maybe that’s why so many of us are so willing to work at it for no money. Now there’s an inconvenient truth but I try not to worry about it too much.
See I’ve learned that the proper way to deal with a difficult and troubling situation is to focus on the one thing that I can affect and then to work as hard and as quickly as I can to change my situation. That puts me in the driver’s seat, makes me master of my destiny and all that; it’s a really cool trick if you can manage it. In these difficult times, with a national economy that’s been in the doldrums for a very long time (and it’s promising to stay there for some considerable time to come), it’s important to have that one thing that you can do, and to give that your best shot.
I write because I need money and writing is the thing I do best. (I’m also an amateur musician and song-writer but the chances of making any money in that business seem to me to be the equivalent of my chances of winning the lottery, if I were to buy tickets.)
That’s the nutshell version of why I write, now here’s the bit about it being the best job in the world – it’s all in the way writing expands my consciousness.
So I’m currently working on a straight science fiction novel about an Artificial Intelligence (AI) named Joe. Naturally I needed to do my research, to make sure that I was up on all the latest developments in the field. I want my science fiction to be extraordinarily prescient fiction but I don’t want to be writing about present scientific reality. Yes, I want one foot on firm scientific ground but the other has to hang out somewhere at the other end of the Universe. That means lots of reading and acquiring some mind changing information.
Who knew, for example, that Asimov’s ‘United States Robots Mechanical Men Corporation’ is a real corporation, with another name naturally, doing AI development as you read this?
This corporation was founded and is led by some very successful, hard-headed business types who have invested a lot of money and seem determined to produce a robot which will be able to imagine a future in the same way a human can. We’re not talking about replacing line-cooks and welders here. We’re talking about robots able to replace science fiction writers. We’re talking Stephen Byerley here.
And that, reader, is what I really enjoy about writing. I feel more connected, more aware of the world around me and of the wonderful and exciting things so many people are doing. It contextualizes the bullshit, helping me maintain a healthy perspective.
And, hopefully, make a little money.