Pay your dues (or don’ts)

I’ve heard the phrase “Pay your dues.” I interpret it two ways. One is the good way. You have to work hard to get results. The other is malicious interpretation. You have to get spat on and stomped, because that’s just part of the process.

What do we want the initiation process to look like? Initiation is like a screening, or filtering process. What does it take to get in the club? For doctors they have to go through years of training. For writers, they have to write 90,000 words and then find a publisher. That seems reasonable.

What I imagine people go through is: club members asserting their hierarchy, taking advantage of people who aren’t in the club yet. Publisher who string writers along with empty promises, and then take all the publishing rights. And writers who put up with it, because it’s all part of the process. It reminds me of hazing in a fraternity. I’ve heard of fraternities doing all sorts of wicked tricks on kids as part of the initiation process. Hey gotta pay your dues to be in the club. Or don’t.

What do you think? Right? Wrong? Pure poppycock?