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I do not write for money is the most irrelevant and aggravating statement I read on Medium — story after story, writers feel compelled to include this fabricated career shaming detail. It doesn’t seem to matter if the topic is finance or figure-skating, its a guarantee that the writer will insert the above statement somewhere within the post; if not the opening line.

When I first joined Medium, I saw this phrase so much, I thought it was one of the writing requirements.

As a serious writer, I find this “disclaimer” insulting for two reasons.

First — writing is a profession and real writers, write for money. No different than accomplished lawyers, doctors etc. Truly talented and professional writers understand their value (although unreasonably critical of their work) and would rather keep a piece to themselves, than give it away to someone who does not appreciate the worth.

I worked in Corporate America for many years and not once do I recall any of my peers ever saying they do not work for money; although there were some who knowingly did not need to. As a professional, its implied that you are employed as an expert in your field, deserving of a wage.

In no way am I implying that work is all about being paid in dollars, as we know it. I have met many people who may not necessarily work for their “salary” but some other form of monetary benefit such as health insurance, tuition assistance or even to gain experience in a new field.

Point being — for most people, work provides some form of value that goes beyond personal development or therapeutic reasoning, and there is nothing wrong with this at all! Its not unethical to work with the expectation of being compensated. This does not make you a bad person.

To say you do not write for money cheapens the industry and all the hard work that goes into establishing oneself as a writer. Many of us were mocked, discouraged and even demeaned in our pursuit to write. To endure so much and then package your work as “free” or similar to the high you get when doing yoga, reinforces the stigma that writing is merely a hobby for fanciful creatives, who lack the needed social skills to get a “real job” — completely untrue.

Furthermore, in a world where people tend to equate cost with quality, free is usually associated with being inferior, less important. When a writer says they do not write for money, what I hear is you do not have enough confidence in yourself or work to charge for it, or claim it as your career.

In this case, do us real writers a favor by not referring to yourself as one.

Does writing fill a void in my life and bring about a certain level of calm? Absolutely! But the personal benefit should not diminish the value.

Second, no one really believes you or cares. Medium is one of the most — if not the most successful and largest writing platforms online. For many good reasons, primarily because they pay writers.

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