When I was 13, I probably wouldn’t have hesitated to accept money, sponsorship, and advertising. In my effort to remember who I was then and nurture this art I’ve come back to, I’ve done what I never thought I would do and partnered with Amazon. I already write about books and other objects I love, providing links from time to time. Working with Amazon is me being 13 and thinking, “you want to pay me for what I’m already doing? That’s great!” At 13, I didn’t understand how cruel the world was to artists. Art isn’t considered a real job to many people. It takes hours and hours to create artwork, no matter what that work is. Some artists see significant financial gain, but even then, there are people who believe they play all day and aren’t doing “real” work. It’s not uncommon for people to joke about how meaningless a degree in any art form is, because it doesn’t typically translate to monetary success. Success is contingent on society’s expectations and what it values. Our society values money, and if a job doesn’t provide money, it generally isn’t considered worth doing. All jobs are worth doing, because they all provide something needed. All those people who consider artists lazy likely aren’t aware of just how much art surrounds them and how it helps them make it through their days. Art is everywhere. It’s on your coffee cup and the fast food bag your breakfast was in. It’s on your tv screen, in the car that takes you where you need to go, and on the junk mail you hopefully toss in the recycling bin. People’s arms are adorned in it permanently with tattoos of various kinds. It lines our ears and our necks in the form of jewelry. We feel art every day we put on clothes. We listen to art in the form of music and journalism, podcasts and comedy. We taste art in delicious food. Artists and products they bring to our world keep us alive in all sorts of ways. It’s not just about museums, theaters, and orchestras. We benefit from so much art we never have to pay for, because artists fill their spaces with creativity and imagination along with different ways to look at reality and life in general. If you were to ask any artist, I suspect nearly all of them would grudgingly say money is their greatest need and their greatest hindrance. When you live in a society that values money more than anything and expects to be provided content and products at little to no cost, it means there are a lot of people creating beautiful things and being criticized for wanting to be paid for making those beautiful things. Despite the thousands of words that I’ve written, I didn’t feel like I could honestly put “writer” in the job description box of my child’s paperwork because I don’t earn anything. But, if you’re reading this, then I obviously wrote something and as my child would so earnestly tell me, “Technically, you are Momma. You write, so you must be a writer.” He’s correct. Regardless of income and whether others deem it legitimate, I work part-time on this blog. I research, I edit, I plan, and even visit places to get more data. Sometimes, I just write freely, but not always. Even if all I did was write with no research, it wouldn’t change that I was writing and giving people something to read. Artists have developed content for patrons for centuries, often to earn the income necessary to survive while they made the art they really wanted to make. By linking to Amazon, I’m doing what so many have done before me. It probably won’t help with that vacation I need once I know where to go, but it might eventually pay for the coffee I drink while I write. I love coffee, I love to write, and I’m learning to love me a bit more than I did. If Amazon can help me, then I’ll take that help. I might even make a place for donations somewhere on my site. Now that I’ve been writing for a while, I understand why donation links are on blogs, why YouTubers always mention sponsors, and why some use Patreon. It’s really not that different from NPR doing their annual pledge drive. It’s all so artists can make more art. As uncomfortable as it is for me, I’m going to trust my 13 year-old self and take a chance on me. Maybe next time, I will put “writer” in the blank, or maybe not. I just hope next time, if I leave it empty, it’s not because I don’t believe I’m a writer.