Tuesday 5 April 2011

F is for Finances (sigh)

I love writing. I especially love writing fiction. I think that I've managed to find both my voice, and the genres I want to write in, which is fundamental to my growth as a writer. When you finally sit down after years of good intentions, roll up your shirt sleeves and begin to write your novel, you very quickly realise something: it is hard work.

I enjoy all aspects of writing, the planning, the editing, the revising. But it takes a huge amount of time. And for those of us who dream of having a full time career as a writer, we start to wonder about money. Because while we would all happily type away for free for the sheer love of what we do, we know that love doesn't pay the bills. And either does three hundred pages of second draft contemporary women's fiction.

So, in order to enable us to live the dream, we have to make us some money. In my case, I write non-fiction journalism. It's not too bad, and I like to think that everything I write (including my mad ramblings here) strengthens my writing muscles. But lately I'm starting to resent the time that is taken up with non-fiction. I'm starting to fall behind schedule with my new work and edits, which is stressing me out a little. I know that this is the real world, and I've got to suck it up, but I feel like I'm stuck in a sort of chicken and the egg situation.

I know that I probably won't make a lot of money with my writing. I've read all the articles written doom and gloom merchants who tell us that the we should stop thinking we can be the next JK Rowling (those people don't have any imagination, it's never any of the millions of other wealthy writers-its always our good friend Joanne) and that we are statistically more likely to to get run over by a ride on lawn mower driven by a cat than ever make more than twenty quid from our books.

It's a sad fact, but to spend as much time as I would like to on my fiction, I'd need to be getting paid for it. It's a hard business to break into, but it's still worth a try though, right? Is anyone else hoping to get to a point where they could earn a living from writing?


  1. Luckily I'm a stay-at-home mom and write in the time I can, which isn't much. That's why I'm on the one-novel-in-three-years plan. I wish I would actually make some money on this, but I've gotten to the point where I'd be shocked.

  2. Man, your friend Joanne sounds like a really bummer. :)

    I think it's difficult to make full-time money as a writer. Lots of people have a book here and there, but there are a limited number of Stephen Kings and Nora Roberts and JK Rowlings out there. It can be done--obviously--but I think having something on the side is always a good thing. When I can (finally) get out of school, I'm lucky to have a supportive husband, but I'm also going to get just a part-time job. A little bit of income from something that I can leave at the office and never bring home, and then write the rest of the time. That's the plan, anyway. We'll see how well it works out.

    Good luck, and don't get discouraged. If you love it, do it. That passion is visible in your writing, and will be visible to an agent when the time comes.

    East for Green Eyes

  3. I'm also one of the lucky ones who can write for fun without worrying about the money. I know I won't make a lot of money but I love it so much too.

  4. I love writing so much too. I can't imagine NOT doing it. I know I won't ever make a living, but I'm seeing now that with a great deal of hard work on my part, I might get a smidge of extra income in a few years.

    Frustrating, but I'm not going to stop! No, sir!

  5. Thank you all so much for your replies! I don't make a hell of a lot from journalism, if I could make even a small amount from fiction I could give up non-fiction and concentrate on what I love to do. That's the dream, anyway.

  6. Christine, I'm such a dummy. I just realized I hadn't subscribed to your blog. Love the name Imagination Station. I'd added you to my blog list I follow. And also remembered/realized you're in the quarterfinals. Congrats.

    How are you holding up? Did you celebrate when you made the quarters? I did.

  7. I did celebrate! Money is pretty tight for us right now, as it is for most, so my husband and I just grabbed a pizza. It was nice though.

    I'm doing the A-Z challenge to get me blogging, and because I realised that if I blog the 26 letters back to back that will take me up to April 26, when I found out if I made the semi-finals. I'm nervous about it because I would love to get through. But I was thrilled to make it past the pitch round, so everything else is a bonus.

  8. I would love to make enough money to live off writing when I graduate from college in December. I'll most likely end up working at a retail store or at a daycare instead, to pay those bills. My mother has told me, since I was 11 and I discovered that I loved writing, that I can't make a living from writing and I'll need a real job. I used to get discouraged when she told me that, but now I just accept it.

    I'd like to eventually be a stay-at-home mother, though I have to get a boyfriend, get married, and have a baby first. :) I could write and take care of my children. It would make me feel better, not having to fight with a "real" job. Being a mom will be my real job, but it'll be easier to spend some time writing.

    Maybe I'll never be rich, but I want to try. For now, I'll keep my job at the bookstore in the supplies department and live off my 80 cents before book sale on the Nook. :)

  9. I would love to eventually make money from writing - at least enough that I could write without having to work a full time job. Right now I'm a part-time worker, part-time student, and in-between-time writer.

    The new layout of your blog is aweseome, esp. the title. And I might be joining you in the A-Z challenge so I have to post purposefully instead of randomly.

    I downloaded your excerpt on my Kindle and I'm going to read it during my lunch break today :)

  10. I really appreciate your post. I feel the same way you do. In order to pay the bills, I have to work outside of writing. I feel that resentment sometimes, too. My paying job takes away from my love, which is to write. Just know, you are not alone. And don't give up hope. People can give you the doom and gloom stories, but not a single one of those folks knows your life story of how it's going to play out. I absolutely believe in hope. You could be the next J.K. Rowling. No one can tell the future. Just keep believing in your dream to write full-time and get paid for it.