Monday, August 04, 2008

Don't quit your day job!

I've been researching writing sites lately and am amazed at how easy the writers of how-to books make writing a full length book sound. I hate to burst your bubble, dear writer, but writing is hard. It's work like any other job. If it weren't, more people would be doing it instead of just talking and dreaming about it.

I read somewhere that less than 20% of self professed writers make a living at it. Less than 6% reach celebrity status like Lori Wick or Karen Kingsbury or Terri Blackstock. For the rest of us, we need another plan.

I tell anyone who asks that the first and most important component to building a successful writing career is a spouse with a regular paycheck and a medical plan.

As most of you know, my latest manuscript was put in the mail last week. I am confident and pleased with the outcome of the book and am sure you will see it on bookstore shelves someday. Unfortunately that someday can't come soon enough for me. The editors at the big New York City publishing houses are currently buying projects for the 2010 calendar year.

So the odds of you submitting your novel this year, seeing it in print in '09, and moving into that mansion you've had your eye in '10 are pretty slim.

But don't despair. We're old enough to accept that things worth having don't come easy. I don't mean to suggest writing the next great American novel is out of your reach. On the contrary, if I can actually string enough words together to constitute a book and find a traditional publisher, and then actually get readers to part with their hard earned dollars in this economy, than so can you.

Doesn't that make you feel better?

So get to writing. Just don't set your sights too high on that mansion. Peruse your classified first for fixer-uppers and shacks on the other side of the tracks. You might be one of those who reaches celebrity status. I hope you are. But until then, don't quit your day job, or do what I do and continue to rely on the kindness and obligations of your spouse's paycheck.

Happy Monday and happy writing.

No comments:

Post a Comment