Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Don't Give Up Your Day Job Yet

Ahh, we all love the dream. Every writer has it running through our heads. I think it goes something like this.
The day begins with a leasurely morning cup of coffee and reading the newspaper. We then stroll into our nicely kept office and sit down to work on the next scene of our story. There is no pressure that day. Heck, we might even take a walk to clear our heads before finishing up for the day. No work. No kids. No hassle.

Um, yeah! Let's all bring this back to reality.

Very few writers in the early stages of their careers will get a chance to experience this. Simply put, the money is just not going to be there to make a living as writer. We don't call writers "starving artists" for nothing. Is it an impossibility? No. You will be able to get to this point, but to do so will require several things.

First of all, time. For you to make a career out of your writing will take time in the trenches. You obviously have to have a following of people willing to buy anything you write.

Secondly, your stories have to be at publishers that are going to pay the big money. Along the same lines, you have to be writing in a genre that will bring in the big money. Yes, romance can do it, but you have to have been in the business a while to get to those levels.

Finally, you have to be an amazing writer. Doing the "mid-list" thing will pay some bills, but it will take longer than you think.

I don't want to rain on everyone's parade here, but I do think every now and then we need a reality check. Writing is not easy and getting paid to do it is not something everyone will see. This doesn't mean you should give up your career in writing. Just bring it out of the clouds every now and then and put your feet on the ground.

And I promise, as an agent, if we think we can get you there, we will do it.



  1. Ah, yes, The Dream. Nailed it!

    Personally, I've found that the more time I have (weekends, holidays), the less I tend to write. I end up saying to myslef "I've got all day to sit down and write"; then, in the evening, it's "I've got all of tomorrow to write". So I'm more productive when I have to painstakingly carve an hour out of my work day, because then I don't want that hour to go to waste. Without my day job, I'd probably procrastinate writing forever. :-)

  2. I work better during the week. Two hours straight writing after day job. It's a relief to use the creative part of my brain. Whereas on the weekend I try to focus on research, blogging, and family time.