Harlan Ellison has a great bit on paying writers. And it isn’t just writers. It is anyone who is using emotional labor to create a connection.
The worst thing to happen to artists in the last decade or so is when the public started to call them content creators.
As Michael Metcalf has pointed out, “Content creation is culturally insignificant.” It is used to fill gaps. Click bait. We can all agree that there is a distinction between the work of Bob Dylan and what a stranger on YouTube posts.
Artist are much more important and need to get paid.
Of course, you can find amateurs who do something for free and are willing to do work anything to get their name out there. That’s fine. But don’t expect a professional to do the same.
For professionals the stakes are much higher. They do their work for money because that is how they put food on the table.
From time to time, I get asked to guide for free because of the gear and experience we have at Pivot Adventure. “Hey, its rock climbing. It is supposed to be fun.” And I almost always say no now. Because I know what I do has a ton of value. It bring joy and meaning to so many people’s lives. And I have to get paid to keep the lights on. Good Charma doesn’t fill your gas tank.
That is not to say artist can’t be generous with their time and talents. Of course they can. Just like a plumber or a CPA can give their time to help someone who needs to be helped. Generous doesn’t mean free though. Generous is seeing someone who is in pain and alleviating it. Generous is invoking a change in emotion. Generous may be giving the number to your competitors when you can’t serve someone the best. There are lots of ways to be generous.