In the comboxes, Sherry describes our situation here at Chez Shea pretty well:
As a long time personal minion of Mark’s, I can tell you that Mark has many jobs – that is, he is a full time writer who is routinely hired by more famous Catholics (including members of hierarchy) to turn their thoughts or oral materials into well-crafted prose because they don’t have the skill or time to do so. His blog posts, columns, the books bearing his name, and the speaking gigs are only part of his work load. He routinely works more than full time to get it all done. And, as anyone who has tried to write seriously can tell you, writing is real work – from which the larger Church is benefiting in many ways. As we all know, much valuable work – such as raising, caring for, and teaching children – isn’t well-paid. Writing for Catholics and about Catholic themes is essential to the New Evangelization and Mark has done a lot of good through his public and private writing. If writing is only “legitimate work” if it easily generates the income necessary to support a family, then 99% of all Catholic writing would stop instantly. (I speak as someone who spent the better part of 6 months – including ALL holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s – furiously writing a book which has turned into a best seller (4th printing underway), is getting rave reviews, and from which I have personally netted so far about $350. Presumably this will improve with time but lets just say that I’m not counting on book money to cover Christmas.) Unless you are the new C. S. Lewis, a G. K. Chesterton or a John Allen, its’ tough. Even for a tenacious, fast, highly skilled and intensely hard-working writer like Mark, it’s tough. Prospective Catholic writers, keep dreaming those dreams of thinking great thoughts and crafting great prose over a breakfast of espresso in a Parisian garrett cause reality is sometimes that romantic.
Just so you understand, I *routinely* work a 12 hour day. This month, more than is normal, we are at quite desperately low levels of income. I’m doing my bit to drum up work. Writing is a zero sum game. Time spent here is time taken away from other writing. If you like what you read here, please help me keep writing it by helping out with the Tin Cup Rattle. As long time readers know, I have don’t do these things when we don’t need to. At present, we need to. So please hit the donate button if you can. Thanks!