Writing is a tough vocation. It’s lonely, people tend to question if it’s a “real job” and the hang time on results often stinks. If you are looking for instant validation for your work…you’d better get a different job.
Half the battle in making sure that you don’t lose the faith is living like a writer. It’s funny because people who have other jobs don’t have to think that way. A construction worker is a construction worker. He has his tools, his friends understand that he is the guy to call when a nail needs hammering, he’s the construction guy. The grill cook or chef is the guy whose house everyone shows up to on Friday nights because that’s where the good food is. No one questions if he can cook…they just grab a fork. And the guys who work as executives at big companies ALWAYS look the part and no one says to them, “so hey, when are you going to get a real job”. The writer on the other hand is the guy or girl who gets to hear things like, ‘so what do you do in your spare time’, and they get that “look” whenever they answer the question what do you do for a living. You know the look, it says, oh…so you are in between jobs….
Let’s face it; no matter what we do as writers, unless we are on the best seller list, folks are going to continue to treat us like we don’t really work. I worked as a newspaper reporter for over 28 years and I had family members who still asked me when I was going back to college to get a degree for a career. Now days, with several published novels and a successful freelance business, all they see is that I am at home all day and I still never went back to college. (I have a degree in journalism by the way) So what can you do to combat this? Truth is you can’t change other people so you have to take care of the way you see yourself.
I personally live as the writer I am. I make no excuses for what I do. I talk and spend time with other writers both on the internet and in real life. (No, the internet is NOT real life so back away from the mouse from time to time) I shop for writer’s things and I budget for things like the Writer’s Market and software that helps me with my craft. I guard my writing time and I give folks who question what I do an ear full when they are asking stupid questions like, “do you make any money writing”. Don’t let people make you feel like you are not a writer. Make them respect who you are and what you do. And when someone says, out loud at the dinner table, “I could have written a book”, look them straight in the eye and say, prove it, and then take great pleasure in the look of panic that spreads across their faces. Live like a writer…you are one…make everyone respect that.
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