What They Don't Tell You About Writing Jobs
I am struggling today. In truth, I struggle quite often in my chosen field of writing, but today is one of the worst that I have had in quite some time. Perhaps you share that struggle. If you are a writer you certainly understand that struggle, for I know of no writer who does not experience it.
They don’t tell us about the struggle when we decide to be writers, do they? What we hear about is the opportunity to work for ourselves. We hear about working from home, and having the freedom of naming our own hours, and the beauty of not having a boss breathing down our necks. All great selling points for sure, and boy do we jump at it and embrace it as the perfect job.
But they don’t tell us about the struggles.
Going the ebook route
- Lifestyle Choices: William D. Holland: Amazon.com: Kindle Store
Lifestyle Choices: William D. Holland: Amazon.com: Kindle Store
I have spoken often about the fact that writing is a lonely gig. Whether you are writing a novel or doing freelance work for some nameless corporation, for the most part you are stuck in your writing workspace, pounding out words and speaking to no one.
Worst, you are stuck in your own head, and oftentimes you will be forced to battle with the self-doubts that infiltrate your brain on a regular basis. Am I good enough? How will I be able to sell this book? What in the world am I doing? Have I lost my friggin’ mind?
If you are lucky enough to be able to mute those inner voices, there is still the reality of trying to sell your writings, and that is a major undertaking at the very least.
How many writers are there in the world? I have no idea but I would be willing to bet my meager earnings that there are millions, and they are all trying to sell their writings. Those who have found the courage to write a novel or book, who have spent literally years finishing their manuscript, then face an uphill battle of gargantuan proportions in trying to get that book published.
Of course there is always the ebook route, an avenue that requires no publishing house or agent. Literally anyone can publish an ebook, and that fact alone means the competition is enormous. There are millions of ebooks published each year, and the chance of becoming recognized in that field are less than good on the greatest of days.
Do you want more discouragement? You can write for a content mill and do SEO articles for $5-$10 per 500 words, and if you are lucky by the end of your first year you will be able to pay for your car payment. You can also try to write for magazines and other publications; they certainly pay more than content sites but the competition, again, is stiff.
Why do you write?
- The Writers Workshop: The Reason Why I Write
Why do you write? Focus on the goal, as the author points out, and stay on the path.
And so It Shall Always Be
Name a successful writer and I will be willing to bet that they labored in relative obscurity for years before they were discovered and tasted success. Years! Years of sending proposals and years of being rejected. Years of harboring self-doubts and years of earning beggar’s wages, more often than not supporting their lifestyle choice by working odd jobs to pay for food and shelter.
So you see, it always was and it most likely always will be. There are no get rich quick schemes in the writing business. Go to the library or bookstore, or search online, and you can find countless books that will tell you how to succeed in writing. They make it sound like all you have to do is read the book and instant success and fame will be yours.
No! It will not!
So What Is the Point? Should You Just Quit?
For heaven’s sake, no you don’t just quit, not if you have a passion for writing, and that is really the key. If you are going to commit to writing for a living then you have to have passion. How else do you remain sane when the self-doubts creep in? How else do you justify spending years of your life trying to beat the odds?
Writing is not a job for the weak-of-heart, and it is not a job for the self-delusional who believe it is as easy as reading a How To book and then sharpening your pencil. If you want to make it in this business you have to have the X Factor.
And what, you ask, is the X Factor of Writing?
I’m glad you asked!
You must believe in yourself
The X Factor
Before I tell you what the X Factor is, let us start with some assumptions. The first assumption is that you have some writing game. In other words, you have certain talents that at the very least give you a leg to stand on in this business.
The next assumption is that you have the time to devote to becoming a better writer and to practicing your craft. I’m sure it is possible to write a successful novel during your part-time, but that truly is doing things the hard way. Good writing requires working at it, and working at it requires having the time to devote to it. A writer must be willing to improve and to put in the time necessary to improve. It takes practice and constant work, and then it takes more practice and more work.
Now, if you can say yes to those assumptions, and you have the passion to follow this career path, then it is time to share with you the X Factor.
You must believe in yourself.
Believing in yourself will sustain you when self-doubt rears its ugly head. Believing in yourself will sustain you when you receive hundreds of rejections slips from publishers and agents. Believing in yourself will be the driving force as the days of no recognition turn into months, and the months turn into years.
Today I believe in myself as a writer. It is that belief that has led me to this article, for this article is a declaration that I will not give up. This is the path I have chosen. This is my passion and this is what I want to do, for as long as it takes, until finally I find success in this business. My belief in myself is rock-solid and steady, and despite the setbacks and the lack of recognition, I will remain steadfast in my belief that I am a writer and I am good enough to make it.
Can you say the same thing about yourself? If so, sit your butt down at the computer, limber up those fingers, and……WRITE!
2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)