The Writer’s Life … Park II

On the subject of the writer’s life, in magazine or newspaper articles, or different posts on industry or writer’s blogs, all have one thing in common … the main theme is …

Don’t quit your day job.

A writer’s life means you have the potential to make less than the average tenured professor, much less than your children’s grade school teachers, and not even half of the standard civil servant in your township or local community.

If you go small press, indie, self-pub’d or any number of other scenarios where you are at last in print, your heart may be filled with fond wishes, but your pockets may be filled with dust bunnies.

The odds of making a living as a full-time writer are worse than the odds of a high school basketball or football star, who gets the sports scholarship and makes the varsity team and then waits four to five years to find he is not one of the one percent of people drafted into the NBA or the NFL.

At least in baseball you can go to a minor or farm team out of high school and increase your odds of being picked up by a major league team.

There are probably no real statistics regarding the average Joe or Jane Writerly and their odds of being number one with a bullet. (I must interject here. I hate statistics.)

Hating statistics as I do, it doesn’t matter. There are hundreds of thousands aspiring writers, an equal number of published writers with hundreds of ways to get in print or in e-publication.

Yet, thousands of “best-selling” authors are still working full-time. Most published writers are not able to quit their day jobs, and would be thrilled beyond hyperbole to be on a mid-list somewhere out there.

Who supports you? No, not just solidarity as in … I’m with you babe … but in raw dollars and cents. Who covers your posterior and extends the deadline of bills due, who takes care of your bottom line?

Wait for one minute. You love the writer’s life and you believe in yourself? Good for you. Me too and I’ll tell you why.

I belong to the Women’s Fiction On-line Chapter of RWA, and in the last two months we have had one amazing story of success after another. We  learned that one of our own had been contracted by the well-known agent, Jessica Faust of Bookends and not even one month after that incredible news, our member found she had a two book deal with Berkley. Congrats to Sharla Scroggs.

Another of our ranks has a potential best seller in print by Putnam and a deal for a television series on HBO, based on her book, The Other Life, Ellen Meister.

I have learned about three book deals. I watched as a member’s book went to the Book of the Month selection, is being published simultaneously in the U.S.and the U.K, Letters From Home, Kristina McMorris.

Our members have finaled in the Golden Heart and are receiving Service Awards through RWA. We have heard of another who was offered a contract with a new e-publisher, who pays actual money, Muse It Up Publishing.

Dozens of our members are self-published and are selling and thriving. A dozen more are already best-selling authors and I am sure there will be more plans for movies and television, award ceremonies and let’s drink a toast moments for many.

If I could drop my hateful prejudice for statistics, what do you think the odds would be for one On-line Chapter of RWA to have these kinds of success stories?

Slim to none is what we are told time and again.

The odds are against you. The numbers stacked in the other guy’s favor.

Don’t quit your day job?

Maybe not. Yet there are dozens of talented writers in this chapter and in many other places who may not quit their day jobs, and will not quit the writer’s life either.

It’s the joy, the thrill … that high no one can explain or describe no matter how well they write. A feeling that … hey … I did that … I wrote a book that someone will read and love and hopefully remember.

What about you? Do you see yourself like me and others, in the writer’s life for the long haul?

fOIS In The City

(1) Don't quit  (2) Statistics (3) Good job (4) Best Revenge



Filed under Random Thoughts

18 responses to “The Writer’s Life … Park II

  1. YAY YAY YAY! WHEN I SEE IT IN PRINT IT BLOWS ME AWAY. Now those are some impressive stats for our group.


  2. christicorbett

    I’m in it for the long haul and for the thrill of putting my words on the page. Success would be a bonus 🙂

    Christi Corbett


  3. laradunning

    Very discouraging stats. Guess that is why I don’t read them and keep typing away.


  4. This is a fantastic post–full of good advice as well as good news. That RWA chapter sounds like a bunch of very hard-working, talented writers.


    • Yes, I think they are. You already know Therese from Writer Unboxed, Michelle from Magical Musings and a host of other very talented women. Good company. I hope some of their positive energy rubs off on me 🙂


  5. Monica

    Excellent advice!


  6. Yeah Florence, but this is the career I’d have if they didn’t pay me ANYTHING!

    And so far, that’s what I’ve recieved. 🙂

    Great blog – love your sense of humor (dust bunnies in pockets – Ha!)


  7. Love the stats! No matter what the stats may be. I’m going to surround myself with positive people and keep at it. I couldn’t quit if I tried!


  8. Definitely, Florence. I could never just give up. It’s realistic to believe we won’t be supporting ourselves with writing, but you never know unless you try. At least we’re doing what we love. And frankly, I’d be happy if people just liked reading my stories.

    I love that first pic. Awesome. And what fantastic success stories for your group. It makes the dream feel that much closer.


  9. DM

    Unfortunately, those of us who write, write because we love it. I think the market is filled with stubborn uneducated people who are thinking money only. Those of us who write from our hearts, our souls have a better chance at being published. Still, most of us will never be rich. I did hear of a writer here who sold her manuscript to a movie company. Unless most of us self-publish, we won’t see our works out for public display. But they are out in the Universe! Writing connects me with my inner self, and that is a comfort.


  10. I FOR SURE see myself in this for the long haul. I’m expecting possible decades before I see a novel in print. (I don’t like to say “if.”) I like the message here of don’t quit your day job, but don’t quit writing either.


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