Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Writing 101: Instability

For the purposes of this post, let’s assume that you are not the author of “Gone With the Wind” or “Catcher in the Rye.” Let’s also assume you did not create the Harry Potter series. That leaves pretty much all the other authors out there. This is the group who lives with daily instability. And for those who are wondering, the answer is no. It’s not going away...well, unless you write the next Harry Potter, of course. 


For even established authors and writers, the writing game is a tightrope walk. There are pretty much two ways to make money as an author: write a few books that sell a whole lot of copies, or write a lot of books that sell a great many copies. If you’re not doing that, you’re not really making money. As a freelance writer, most of the time you’re going to need to have a lot of jobs that pay well (and a few that don’t really pay that well) just to make ends meet. And here’s the thing about both authors and writers: the rug can get pulled out from under you at basically any moment. Then, you’ll fall down. 

There is very little stability in writing in most all its forms. Writing jobs can end quickly, because websites lose traffic or a magazine loses readers. Books may not sell well even when you’re certain they will. Publishing deals can fall through, literary agents can write “dear John” letters, fans might turn on you, a great job may fire you without much notice at all.

For most of us, writing is a see-saw. There are times when you’re way up high in the air. There are going to be other times when you’re literally sitting on your butt in the dirt. Maybe somebody will come by and kick some sand in your face. Very rarely is it simply steady. So if you want security, if you want safety, being a full-time writer or author may not really be for you. There are times when it will work, but there are also times when it won’t.

This is why many, many writers also supplement their income with part-time or full-time jobs. Many may own their own businesses. Find what works for you best, and find stability where you can. Words don't usually provide it.

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