Sherry Weddell Speaks the Truth

Sherry Weddell Speaks the Truth December 5, 2012

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!

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  • Andy, Bad Person

    But Mark, where did you get the authority to work 12 hour days and bust your butt for very little money?

    • Mark Shea


    • Robert

      He has permission from his Bishop. :p

  • Deacon Greg Kandra

    How much does it cost to repair/replace a busted butt? Do you have to order them from overseas? Do Chinese orphans make them in Kathy Lee’s sweatshop?

    Are they on back order (so to speak)??

  • I’m posting this here because I want to make good on an offer I made to Mark a while ago, but which I don’t think he can publicize himself through Patheos for various reasons (advertising, etc). [Naturally, Mark is free to remove this at any time]

    We have a whole range of options to help local businesses get found by customers when they’re already looking for someone who does what the business does! There is a 5 minute video on our website that explains what we do in a nutshell. If you (or someone you know) becomes a client, we’ll donate 50% of the profits to Chez Shea! All you have to do is tell us “Mark Shea sent me,” (or something to that effect), and we’ll happily apportion Mark his fair share!

    I hope this is kosher.


    • Also, the above was written very…oddly, because I kept getting “spam” blocked. Le sigh…

    • Mark Windsor

      Justin – We’re Catholic. We’re the ones that eat fish on Fridays, not the kosher ones. 🙂

  • Nance

    The Tin Cup Rattle made perfect sense for an independent blogger – it was a way for readers to compensate you for what you put out there, unpaid. But Patheos pays you, right? I dunno.

    • Mark Shea

      Yes. I get a small amount. Not nearly enough to survive on though. Hence the Tin Cup Rattle.

  • Don’t write sermons purporting to be fiction. Don’t preach and evangelize in fictional form. Don’t try to be inspirational. Write a story, tell it well, and let whatever you believe and experience live through that. If you can tell a story it will do whatever you want it to do. Some people can tell a good story and many can’t. Some people can write in a way that holds a reader to the last page, and some can’t. That’s the way it is.

    If you write that way you will find out soon enough if your faith is real or baloney.

    Don’t write for money, but write because you can’t help yourself.

    • Stephen Sparrow

      Pavel, your advice is so good – so much packed into those few words. Thank you

  • Tolkien. Lewis. J.F. Powers. Percy.

    I especially love Powers because he obviously loves the Church but has no illusions about the people. He can be funny without being trivial. Morte D’Urban is a satire that has one scene it it that would make a corpse break out in a sweat.