Last night I watched Sicko by Michael Moore. I'm usually first in line for these types of movies but with my hectic schedule it was overlooked until now. While it raised a lot of questions and prompted me to do further research on the subject, the one thing that I couldn't get out of my mind, long after the final credits had rolled was, "Who are these people and how can they live with themselves?" I listened to the testimony of the medical directors, saying the more claims they denied the higher their bonuses were. Although they knew full well that their clients would die without proper care, they still sent in the denial letter. I don't think I could look myself in the mirror.
This led me to what Lee Child said this weekend at Love is Murder. He was talking about how lucky we are to be working in this industry. We don't hurt anyone. We're not like a drug company; no one is buying our product because they have to. We're not like a football team where if one person gets on the team that means one person is out. There's enough room for all of us. Of course there's the validation of seeing your work in print, the possibility of hitting bestseller lists or that Ben Affleck and Matt Damon will like your book so much that they'll want to make it into a movie, etc.
But overall, I believe he is right. Yes, beginning writers struggle and it's a tough industry to crack, but really, we're pretty well off. I've never lost sleep at night over what I do for a living. I don't have ulcers because my work is destroying the lives of others. I can look myself in the mirror. And although there are already tons of very talented writers, there is plenty of room for more.