Mental Masturbation Vs. Money

Can't you make this a little funnier?

We blogging writers know one thing more than any other: 

What we are doing doesn’t matter for shit. 

It is with this comfortable lack of responsibility that we write our hearts out about whatever interests us at this very second—and screw it if no one else wants to read it.

I recently got a phone call from a friend of mine who owns a video production company here in the Bay Area.  He asked me if I would be willing to write a script for a company with a technologically impressive product.  A chill ran up my spine as I realized what he was asking me to do:

Write for Money.

The paradigm of everything shifts when money is involved. 

Sex changes. 

Friendship changes. 

Art changes. 

And if someone is paying me (or you) to write something, a whole new weight is dropped upon our creative shoulders.

The video script revolves around this product and its usefulness in society.  The job of the script writer is to use parameters given (there are three sets) and produce a script that is clever, funny, touching, sentimental and sticks in the viewer’s head.  Oh yeah, and relate and integrate any and all suggestions from execs, lawyers and other imputers.

 Knowing that I have already guided the director/producer to this blogsite (big mistake?), I also let him know about my other blogs and work at NPR.  Why any of that matters, I don’t really know because if the script sucks it doesn’t matter if I have ten Screenwriting Oscars. 

It still sucks.

Writing what you want when you want to write it is a privilege and a luxury, one that I’ve seen in the envious eyes of published writers dogged by deadlines and the wistful memory of what it was like trying to get their first book published under the glorious cloak of anonymity.  Writing for fun is, well, fun.  And writing for money is work.

My good friend and business partner Joe Mielke quotes the adage:

“If you do what you love for a living you’ll never work a day in your life.”

Then he adjusts it to the reality:

 “If you do what you love for a living, you’ll learn to hate it.”

I am brainstorming ideas for the upcoming script, challenged and thankful for the opportunity for a shot at something that could help my writing career.  I hope I can enjoy the process along the way. 

Because I love writing. 

And I want this motherfu*king job.

About bestbathroombooks

I run a small publishing company and am presently seeking the funniest, coolest and most marketable ideas to sell in places like Urban Outfitters, Papyrus, college bookstores and independent bookstores in the Humor Sections. Contact me through this blog or better at There are some talented people out there writing good, funny, conceptual books and blogging some funny stuff. I wish I had time to read more and write more. I have a day gig and do a lot of other things, but blogging helps me stay connected to my laptop and ensures sterility (due to EMF on my testicles) which is great because I've had enough kids. Les
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26 Responses to Mental Masturbation Vs. Money

  1. H.E. ELLIS says:

    You sound like a gynecologist.

  2. Lez says:

    But isn’t your worst day of writing still more fun than your best day of punching a time clock? The proof of the pudding is in your writing, Maestro, which is now reaping what you have so cleverly sewn. Rock on Writer. ((( : )

  3. Lez says:

    P.S. (sown), You Mothafu*king deserve the job and love Joe’s pearls, too. ((( : )

  4. talker96 says:

    I realized long ago that whenever I am asked to write a script I must always have a writing partner. The reason for this is the dialogue, every character I write always ends up sounding like it’s me as the character(which it is technically) I hate writing screenplays but I love to get paid for it. I love writing my blog but I hate that it doesn’t pay.
    I rack my brain all the time trying to figure out how to make money from my blog but the only idea I’ve come up with didn’t work on account that no one wanted to watch me sit naked in front of a webcam while I wrote. To each their own I guess.

  5. speaker7 says:

    So you have to write a script about a product that will cause the viewer to go through a bevy of emotional reactions so s/he must have that product immediately? I would suggest babies and puppies, and the American flag and fireworks, and a gun and the overuse of the word “for schnizzle.” You do not have to credit me.

  6. aFrankAngle says:

    As you know, continuity of thought is important in writing … so your last three posts are – From Hand Jobs to Mental Masturbation because You Look Like Me.

    • If you’re suggesting that my topics are narrow in subject matter, you’re pretty dead on. So many of the blogs I read are meaningful, but they don’t mean sh*t to The Man because we’re doing it for fun.

  7. Gillian Colbert says:

    Do it if it inspires you, otherwise don’t. I write for money every day and hate my job. I write for pleasure and can wallow in the words. However, I also earn money from my pleasure writing, so it’s all about balance.

    • You’ve got it right Gillian. If it was that much fun, you’d be paying them. We have to try to get that balance, and push ourselves to hit the deadline sometimes. But it doesn’t mean we can’t have fun with words. If it makes me laugh or touches me in some way, it’s worth more than money.

  8. Angie Z. says:

    First off, congrats. That sounds like a legitimate Big Deal. Very impressive.

    Second, and I hope this won’t taint my very sincere congrats, but I hate writing for money. If being with or without talent had nothing to do with it, I can state in all certainty that I would not be good at writing for money in the long-term. I did it for a while and disliked it immensely. What finally did me in was when I had to write a magazine story about grown men who collect miniature steam-engine trains and ride around on them in their spare time (while wearing engineer hats and overalls). That’s precisely when I hung up my writing shoes (that look a lot like fuzzy pink slippers, in my case) and decided I am not that in love with the craft of writing.

    • Thanks Angie. After writing this post, I’ll probably get fired before I get hired.
      I think you’re in love with the craft of crafting a good blog. We’re all out here woodshedding and these are chops that will eventually come in handy, even if it’s only at someone’s funeral service. I love that I can pick whatever damn topic I want and no one can tell me otherwise…until they start paying for it.

  9. Write two scripts. The first one you write all full of jokes and nonsense and whatever else you want, as though it was going on this blog. The second one you write using the first one as a template, making it unfunny and serious and job-oriented. That way, you feed both monsters, creativity and money.

    Then post the first one here so we can read that shit.

    • Leave it to you Edward. You’d probably write twenty scripts. What I’m thinking of doing is writing a script everyday and submitting them. The only way they can get me to stop sending them is to pay me to stop.

      • benzeknees says:

        Now this idea I love! Congrats on landing a paying gig for writing, but I can understand your hesitancy – no one wants to be told what they must or must not do when it’s their creative baby. Honestly – good luck & keep us posted!

  10. itchemeyer says:

    Wait, since when do people in sweaters ever kill each other? That picture doesnt make any sense.

  11. hello, bbb,

    i heart you. ^^ hope you did well or are doing well on this project. regards! 🙂

  12. Still waiting! Thanks for the good wishes.

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