A few weeks ago I received a private FB message from an aspiring writer named Jennifer who asked: “I just graduated from high school and will start college this autumn, and I've been contemplating making writing a career. I just love to write, but I also know that a writing career can be rough, so I'm not sure if I would make it in the publishing world. Can you give me some advice? I don't know what to do.”
Should you make writing a career? This is a question that many budding writers of all ages struggle with. But first, what does it even mean “becoming a writer.” Many people enjoy jotting down their thoughts in a variety of ways. Some do so for personal growth, as a form of therapy, others for pleasure. Then, there are some writers who pursue publication (traditional or indie) because they want to share their stories with the world. And lastly, there are those who want to make writing a career, and along the way make a lot of money. So, my answer is a simple one: If you love to write, and are willing to put in the effort, then, by all means, become a writer. Set your words free, make your dream a reality, and enjoy the process along the way. Just keep in mind that writing is not a get-rich-quick scheme.
Should you pursue a career in sharing your words with the rest of the world? Let me be honest: Being a full-time writer involves arduous work in today’s over-saturated book market. Yes, you may have heard the stories of both self-published and traditionally published authors alike who became rich and famous virtually over night. However, the vast majority of full-time authors struggle to make a living with their writings. I’ve been writing full time for about eight years now, and I have published seven books, with two more coming out this November. But, I haven’t earned fat royalty checks with my books, and over the years I've come to realize that most of us are in the same boat. If you do wish to make writing a career, you need to be prepared for the realities of a competitive publishing market and the possibility of having a second or even third job to pay your bills - can't live on beautiful words and air alone!
I’d like to close this article by saying that if you are passionate about writing and want to make a career of it, then I think you should go for it. Don't give up on your dream, even when you hit a roadblock! I can honestly state that I love my job as a writer. It's my dream come true, and I can’t imagine any other career could be more fulfilling. But as you go after your goal, you need to be prepared to work harder than you ever have before. Give it your all, and with lots of determination and hard work, you might someday find that dreams can come true.
So what about you? What advice would you give others if they asked you if they should write for a living?
Piper is the author of several non-fiction books, and recently added two historical fiction novels to her ever-expanding collection of published writings, In the Shadow of Her Majesty and The Country Girl Empress. When she isn't busy typing away on her computer, she can be found chasing after her furry children or holding on tightly to a good cup of coffee. Follow her on LinkedIn, Facebook, Goodreads and Google+.