I often read articles about writing as a business: how to get sales, how to market, is it worth it? Some of these articles say the same thing, and though I would hope against the truth, much of what I find is the same.
No. Published or otherwise, a writer may not be able to support herself just by writing books. If you’re making money as a writer, it’s not because you’re writing fiction. You’re writing non-fiction How To books and freelance articles for blogs, dealing with subjects that don’t matter to you at all.
I’ll be honest: Lately, I’ve been thinking about giving up. In fact, I’ve been at that place many times in my life. It’s always just a phase, but the truth remains: I’m not able to support myself as a writer, and I may never be.
Writing has been a struggle for a while now. I’d say it has been for the past 2 years since I started my current job. It’s not always a question of what I should write – I do have a few ideas put back – but it’s finding the time and focus when there is so much else going on. At some point you realize that you’re an adult with an adult life, and no matter how you slice it, a part of having an adult life is always going to be bills.
The honest truth is that what you do with your life all comes down to money – the stress of needing money from somewhere and not making enough to pay those dreaded bills. And this applies to doing anything you love. Sometimes you just can’t manage to get paid for it.
In the midst of these thoughts, I was out one night after work, thinking that I just couldn’t do it anymore. I wondered if all my effort was worth it, and if I gave up writing, could I move forward? What else was out there? I looked at my phone and saw that someone had tagged me on Twitter. I checked it out and there was a link that led me to Instagram. There, I saw a picture of the books in my Nevermor trilogy. A book blogger was doing a post challenge, and when asked which author she would like to meet, she chose me.
I actually started tearing up. It just meant so much to me to see my books like that, in print and in someone’s possession. To have someone say that they love my work certainly makes me feel that I don’t regret what I’ve done and am doing.
It really does seem that every time I start feeling down, something like this comes along to lift me back up. What I am doing is not at all for naught, though it has been difficult to find time for it.
Things are harder now. My day job requires so much attention that I can’t even think about anything else, develop plots or ideas. I have approximately one serious writer friend, and now we have both become so wrapped up in having day jobs that we barely talk, let alone write together. Lately and for a while, the only thing my brain can think about is making money. How can I make money with my books, and do people really do that? From what I’ve read, even most published writers struggle.
The truth is, I don’t need too much to live right now. That may mean a downgrade from the life I’m currently living, but I believe I could do it. I think I could be perfectly happy without a job, but how to get there? What is enough for happiness?
I have 10 books for sale right now – 10 beautiful books – and a few more that I wrote in my twenties and haven’t released yet. I honestly want nothing more than to be able to support myself with writing.
The night after the Instagram pic, I dreamed an entire plot, and I was so excited about it! It felt so good to know that there was still something there, almost like a sign, that my own mind was telling me ‘we’ve still got it’.
I’ve started thinking: maybe writing can still be accomplished if I try to make time in my life for everything. A schedule. Everything has a time and place. Because of how inspiration strikes, this may not be completely possible, but there must be some way to organize this instead of me wasting so much time moping because I’m unhappy and worrying that the spark is gone. That happens when you overthink everything.
I’m happy to say that I’m writing again, and it feels good. Does it erase all the stresses that life in modern society brings? No. But maybe with more effort and learning, I can finally get to a place where everything balances out. I’m looking forward to finding that.