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Would You Stop Writing for a Million Dollars?

Updated on March 30, 2015
Thoughts and questions of many shades and colors beyond black and white
Thoughts and questions of many shades and colors beyond black and white

Would You Stop Writing for a Million Dollars?

I was pondering what purpose art fulfills in my life recently when this question occurred to me. I realized that not only do I not want to stop creating art (including writing) but that I do not think I can. For me, the answer to the question, "Would you stop writing for a million dollars?" is an honest though somewhat chagrined, "no." It's not because I wouldn't want to but that I don't think I could.

I'm not arrogant enough to think that even the value of the combined total of everything I write in my entire life will ever add up to a million dollars. I'm not arrogant enough to think I can do more good in this world with mere words than I could if I were to have a million dollars to do it with.

If someone actually made me such an offer, I might want to accept it, very badly. After all, I'm pretty poor. However, I don't think I could stop writing. I don't think all that many people who think they could, actually could.

It's pretty clear-cut for me because I'm autistic and I communicate much, much more with the written word rather than the spoken word. It would basically be like taking a lifetime vow of silence would be for almost anyone else. I think it would be a tremendous pressure even on those writers for whom an end to writing would not be so closely akin to a lifetime vow of silence.

So Here's the Set-Up and the Great Big Catches - Please Read Before Answering

A dodgy source of money plus the permanent loss of your writing voice...

Here's the setting for my hypothetical question:

You are not poor, you have medical insurance, a roof over your head, food on the table, and a nest egg socked away for retirement and you work in a job you enjoy that does not involve writing. An organization morally, ethically, or politically opposed to something you write about (if you write about cats, it might be the Cat Haters of Earth Society, for example) offers you a million dollars to never write another word and to allow them to erase from existence everything you've ever written.

You would not be allowed to dictate your words to another person or into a recording device nor use a text-to-speech program to turn your speech into writing.

You would be allowed to write your signature on legal documents and nothing more. So much as signing a birthday card would break the deal. Would you take the money? Could you really, truly never write another word so long as you lived?

What Does Writing Mean To You, Emotionally Speaking?

What emotional role does writing fulfill in your life?

See results

How about you? Would you stop writing for a million dollars? - If you think you would, do you think you could, never, ever write another word?

Would You Stop Writing for a Million Dollars, Assuming All The Conditions Stated?



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    • Kylyssa Shay 5 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      Hexadtraining, using speech-to-text programs would be a total deal breaker as would dictating, live or via recording, words for another human being to write or type down. Nothing but following the spirit as well as the terms of the agreement would fly. That's what makes it a dilemma. If you could get around the agreement and keep the money, it wouldn't have much sting, now would it? That's also why I chose an amount that was large yet not so large that one would be able to easily avoid the need to work again. Hearing peoples' answers to easy questions isn't all that fun.

    • hexadtraining 5 years ago

      I'd take it if I could use the text-to-speech technology. Is that a deal breaker?

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      I'd sign up!

    • Robert T Gasperson 5 years ago from South Carolina

      Yep. If I were given a million dollars, I would stop writing. I would probably open a book store and sit and read all day no matter how bad business is.

    • RussKeith 5 years ago

      I would do it in a heartbeat! Now if someone told be I could never draw again one million wouldn't be enough!


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      • anonymous 4 years ago

        I don't need a million dollars, even though I live on Social Security and make very little money from my writing. I'd love to have a million dollars because I can think of so many ways to help people that I know need help. There are organizations that I'd like to support better than I'm able to now. But if I stopped writing, I'd probably die. It's so central to my life that there's no amount of money that could persuade me to give it up. So that probably makes me selfish.

      • Mystico 5 years ago

        What an interesting theme ... perhaps, one day I can share my tale with you. I couldn't stop, not even for 1.4 million.

      • tnabooks 5 years ago

        A million dollars isn't worth giving up writing for the rest of my life. Writing is my best form of therapy.

      • DahliaValentine 5 years ago

        I know I can use my writing skills to make more than a million dollars. If you're a good writer you've got a skill you can make money with for an entire lifetime.

      • Susanna Duffy 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia

        Make it $12 million and I'll seriously consider the offer

      I'm not even sure I could stop writing if I were fined every time I wrote something. Good thing that won't happen!

      How Much Would It Take?

      I honestly couldn't tell you how much it would take for me to be rendered permanently mute in this way. I assume there would be some amount of money that would force me through guilt to accept the offer, but a million isn't it. How much of a payoff would it take for me to give up my voice-box? I just don't know.

      Anyway, let it percolate through your mind. How much would would someone have to pay for you to give up your written voice forever?

      It's Only Hypothetical

      Before anyone else chastises me for being poor and not accepting a million dollars to stop writing, please remember this is a purely hypothetical question; no one is offering me money to stop writing.

      And yes, if you must know, some very literal soul felt the need to tell me I have no right to refuse this money that doesn't actually exist.

      © 2012 Kylyssa Shay

      What Do You Think about the Question, "Would You Stop Writing for a Million Dollars?" How Much Would It Take for You to Stop?

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        • religions7 profile image

          religions7 4 years ago

          Like you I COULD not accept that money. I would continue writing anyhow and probably start by writing something like the above - how writing is too much a part of me. Thankfully, of course, the offer will never come :)

        • Titia profile image

          Titia Geertman 5 years ago from Waterlandkerkje - The Netherlands

          No, I wouldn't accept that offer. My poems are very dear to me and I've written poetry all my life. Even while driving my car I 'write' poetry about all the things I see, alas, when I come home, the words have disappeared in thin air.

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          depuyhiprecalllawyer 5 years ago

          You caught me on that one. I've learned a lot from your lens though.

        • profile image

          anonymous 5 years ago

          Enjoyed your article topic, catchy indeed.

        • SusannaDuffy profile image

          Susanna Duffy 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia

          $1 million isn't very much money. It would buy a house where I live and a few cups of coffee.That's not enough to tempt me

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