Today I want to talk about making a living as a writer. I do that every day. I’m not kidding. I write for my job and that sometimes can be great, but it also can be very annoying when you also write for pleasure. Sometimes it can slow down your work on novellas and novels just because you can’t write another word or read another thing.
There is a fine line there between writing because you love it and writing because you have to. I’ve found that writing as my major source of income has helped do a few things that maybe other writers don’t do or maybe they do, but this is my list.
- I can write when there doesn’t seem to be a story. – It’s true. I’ve covered meeting, after meeting, after meeting in my long career as a reporter/editor. Yes, they are boring, I just want to get that out there, but they have taught me to find the gem in nothingness. Sometimes there doesn’t seem to be anything worth taking away, but I find maybe two sentences someone has said can launch me into a full out story. This is great when you just get an inkling of an idea and have to develop it past short story length.
- I don’t have to wait for the muse. – Nope. I don’t. I can just sit down and start putting words together because when you work on a deadline, you can’t wait for the muse to arrive when you need it. You have to do things to make the muse appear. If it doesn’t, you can still write. It might not be as inspired as you would hope, but it can still be words towards your goal. That is what editing is for, after all. It works out all the quirks that were just words you put in there to flush it out.
- I know when to put writing aside to let it brew. – Sometimes you have great ideas and sometimes you don’t. You start off because you don’t need that muse, you are just going to write, but there are some times when crafting the story can take a little longer because you want to think about it. I call this brewing. This is a time when I put sentences together in my mind and figure out direction. I can sometimes play out whole scenes in my head before my pen even hits the paper (yes, I write by hand).
- I treat all writing like it’s work. – Might not sound fun, but there are times I go weeks on end just writing all the time. There are also times when I only write for work. I always treat it like it’s a job no matter if it’s for me or the job. I treat it like it is something I want to make a living doing. If you don’t treat it as important, it can slip to the back burner all the time because life is super busy. So maybe my house isn’t super clean and I don’t always have the dishes done, but I have written my next novella. See the trade off is worth it in the end, especially when you find happiness in your work.
- I know the power of music. – Many, many writers use music to boost up their creativity when they write. It’s not an uncommon practice, but I work in a busy office all day and have to write to the constant noise. I have several playlists at work that help me get into the groove of writing. They are specifically called “writing” in my list and that way I can just click on them easily. They are songs that are familiar, yet they still give me great inspiration. They also help to drown out noisy customers and people that are talking on the phone.
So what does it all mean? (I find myself asking that more and more these days.)
It means I don’t have to wait to make a living as a writer because I already do. I already put words into some form for money. So I shouldn’t be scared that I’m working towards the goal of self employment. I know that I can write and make money. I know that if I left my current position, I could always write for the paper just to have a little extra cash because of the experience I have in 20 years on the job.
I shouldn’t be scared and I won’t spend the next two years (read previous post https://ljflemingdotcom.wordpress.com/2015/10/28/reaching-higher/) worrying that it will never work out for me. I can’t. I have to be OK with this. The more I talk about it, the more I think I can make this work.
Until next time, find your passion!