Monday, December 5, 2011

"Make Your Living As A Writer"

Yesterday a friend called me sent me a text message to see what I was up to. He was going for coffee and thought he'd see if I was available. I was - about 45 minutes later after I woke up and took a shower. So I replied, he waited while I put on my shoes and headed over. We spent some time talking. Drinking coffee drinks. Talking.

We're in the same profession - which is not writing. Although we are both writers. He writes stories, yes - but his passion is writing scripts: radio, film, theater.

So we were talking about writing. And talking about the future - the future of our writing. And he talked about if this were the past we might be living in Paris, living with other writers and our lives would be writing and sleeping and eating and writing. And talking about writing. He's a bit of a romantic that way - and, yes, we might. We know others like us. (My partner pointed out, when she and I were talking about it later, that we'd still need wives to take care of the day to day life things while we did our writerly things. True. She's an historical realist that way, yes.)

Not for the first time - but he and I had the discussion about options of making our living as writers. I brought it up because, if you have Gmail or another email program which does this you already know, online email programs bring advertisements with them. There are little bots they send out to scan your email subjects or content and then you get ads (text only or with full visuals, depending).

A quick aside: one thing which strikes me as funny is that when I'm in my Gmail junk folder, there are Spam recipes advertised at the top of the screen. It makes me laugh. And some of them? Wow - pretty outrageous!

Back to writing. So my Gmail ads frequently are about becoming and interpreter or translator, and about writing. Very often there are teasers about "You can earn your living as a writer" or "Write from Home" or somesuch.

I think about articles and nonfiction pieces. I think about getting an MFA. I think about other writerly things and yet. I don't think I'm ready to give up interpreting. And I don't like researching how some place wants me to word what it is I do so they will accept it. I want my writing to stand on its own merits. I could debate this here all by myself: the pros and cons, the whys. My friend and I spent a lot of time talking about this. I think about hours of research to find the publications which want what I might want to write about and then the hours writing the queries and proposals. And then the research to write the articles. And then the writing.


Yes, for now, I think I'll keep my day(night) job. Which I still like. Which I know how to do and I do it well.

And I'll keep writing what I want to write because I want to write it. Not because I have to write it to pay the mortgage.

And I believe that diversity is a good thing.

Maybe, for me, "make my living as a writer" would be better said as "make my living and be a writer."