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The Truth About Writing and Other Things A Writer Questions
Writing is hard. And it gets harder when it finally hits you that most people think writers get paid a lot. They have stable jobs. But the worst is when someone who has never done it professionally says that “anyone can write for children” and to “get a REAL job.” My question is what makes a real job? Is it when you get paid enough to pay bills and the bare necessities? What then about those who get minimum wage and are on Food Stamps because even they don’t get paid enough? Is it how hard you work? If so, is caring for your own children considered a “real job?”
As a writer, I get paid sporadically. I work many hours with no payment. I pour my heart and soul into my craft. But after doing all of this for years, I sometimes wonder if I am wasting my time. I had someone say once that anyone could write a children’s book. Just write a few simple sentences and you’ve a story. Of course, being active in the writing community since I was nine years old, I knew that was just bogus.
I can handle hearing people say those things because I know they don’t know what they are saying, but I have a very hard time telling people who want to publish a book that they are unlikely to make money from it, and even more unlikely to sell a bunch of copies. There is so much competition in the writing world that most writers just get lost in the OCEAN of writers. Eventually, many of them will give up or sell out. Most of them end up selling the entire copyright of their stories and writings to a publisher because they start to feel desperate and just want to get their name “out there.”
I got so sick of waiting for someone to publish my book “Kindergarten Mishaps” that I “sold out” as well by self- publishing with a print- on- demand business. I make less than one percent of the listed price per book. So I started to write content for clients who bought the right to claim the writing as their own and give me no credit. Even though I was making pretty good money from that, I was NOT happy. It drained my creativity. Soon I felt stuck in a whirlwind of judgement, unreasonable requests and sadness.
In December of 2013, I decided to stop writing content for people who took what I did for granted, and start writing what I love, again. It felt great to be back into the creative side of writing. After more than a year of consistently posting to my website, being active in communities relevant to my writing, I only had about 5 to 30 people visiting my blog per day. Very few people where interacting (posting comments, sharing, liking etc). Again, I started to feel discouraged.
I spend two to three hours just writing the things I post, and often ask myself if I am wasting my time. Is all this really worth it? Then I remember a belief I feel very strongly about; “you only fail when you give up!” Lately, I have been asking myself if it is time to quit and “get a real job.” I don’t have the energy to work a traditional job and still write creatively.
I could write for nine hours and get $200 or $300, but I could also work for nine hours and earn nothing. Day to day, month to month; I don’t always know what will happen. So when I hear new writers (those who are not super familiar with the writing world and/ or have never been published) say they want to get published so they can “make their mark,” or “be famous” I cringe. I think to myself, “get in line, it’s a long one!”
“…get in line, it’s a long one!”
I want everyone who wants to be a writer to remember one thing. Writing is hard. Do NOT enter if you are doing it for any reason except that you write because you can’t NOT write. Writing is full of discouragement. Proceed with caution. Writing is hard, but it’s all worth it when a fan or follower comes up to you and speaks. Writing is hard. But it all becomes worth it when you see your name on the cover of your first book. Writing is hard. When you finally experience the truth, you know you’ve made it!