“The first writer to charge by the word is thought to be the Greek poet Simonides, who became legendary for his stinginess. Prior to Simonides, poets relied on a patronage system. In exchange for food, lodging, and prestige, poets would provide wealthy benefactors with writing that extolled their virtues, as well as act as general companions and creative writing coaches for the patron’s own work. Amorphous and difficult to pin down, it was a system that allowed at least some poets to make a living without overly quantifying their art.”
So writers today owe much to Simonides though he was labeled as ‘avaricious’. He lived at a time when patronage was respected and payment was shunned. Even now, the romantic view of the writer is the one who stares at the computer screen for the love of the written word.
Simonedes was a sign of the times – his actions spoke of the kind of ‘impact’ that money had on the ancient word. Even now writers and artists play a role in the gift economy where rewards are of a different coinage- the one of reciprocity. If this exists then writing for a cause is plausible. What do you think?