Doing it for the Money (not)

You can be paid for your work, and you can be really paid for your work. 

What's he talking about now? you're probably asking, yet again. 

I've just returned from the Swanwick Writers' Summer School, with a heart full of memories, thoughts and smiles. 

I was teaching photography for writers this year, and also teaching about teaching.

That was a particularly important course for me, because I dedicated it to the two teachers who, many years ago, helped the young Hall away from a life spent languishing in the badlands, and instead towards the incredible existence I know today. 

That small gesture was a form of what I mean by being really paid for my work. But there were also others.

In just a few minutes, at a tea break, one delegate told me my course on journalism a couple of years ago had helped him set up and get thriving a community newsletter. 

And another way Swanwick has of really paying you is the friendship and simply the feeling - 

It's such a warm, happy and supportive community that music and singing can spring up anywhere. 

All of which are parts of what I mean by really being paid for your work, way ahead of the mundane (albeit necessary to eat, pay bills etc.) invoice you submit at the end of the week. 

But most of all, it's the legacy thing.

Every year, I try to quietly mentor one aspiring journalist into the media trade, and one yet to be published writer into getting a book deal.

That doesn't involve an invoice, but it certainly is work that really pays. 

Or perhaps rewards would be a better word. 

Because when I arrived at Swanwick this year, I was tracked down by the writer I'm currently mentoring, and presented with this - 

A gift pack of my favourite beer, which she had kindly ordered from my dear old Devon and brought all the way to Derbyshire for me. 

I won't deny the unexpected gift was a very fine form of being paid for my work. 

But the heart glow of the legacy, making a difference feeling... that was the real reward.