One of the reasons I got into writing full-time was because it afforded me a few amenities that I couldn’t get with a full-time outside job. First off I didn’t have to get up at the butt-crack of dawn to haul my rather large butt to an office. Second, I could be at home for my kids and work out of the comfort of my home office. But perhaps the most important reason was because I didn’t have to have a boss. I could be my own boss and I alone could be responsible for what I produced. It’s a cool gig really…imagine my shock when I received an e-mail this week from a “successful” writer telling me that I wasn’t stacking up to her vision of what being a writer was all about. According to her, I, and many other writers out there, was doing it all wrong.
What did this “successful” writer mean by “all wrong”? Her e-mail went on to explain that, in her opinion, writers who work for content mills or answer ads on Craigslist were losers. She said that those of us who were taking on the “little” jobs were no more than hacks that would never be as successful as she was. Keep in mind that this e-mail was a newsletter that this “successful” writer produces and then sends out to unsuspecting fledgling writers. I had to wonder…how many young and beginning writers had this “successful” writer destroyed with her idiot opinion?
The truth is that a lot of the time writing is scraping for every writing gig you can get. Sure I write novels and they do well but day to day, in-between royalty checks that come nowhere near what Stephen King makes on a Saturday, I have to live. I take on the Craigslist ads and they Freelancer job announcements. Sometimes I make $30 for a gig but you know what…its $30 more than I had before and could mean pizza for dinner. My point is that, sure we would all love the high paying jobs every single day but it is unlikely those will come on a regular basis unless we are so well established that we are in high demand. In the meantime the rest of us can continue to take those “little” jobs so we can keep the damn lights on. It is also building our portfolio so that someday we will be in high demand and that’s okay.
The sad thing is that there will be many “successful” writers out there who will want to tell you to back off the smaller jobs…my response to them…”you buy my kids food and I will stop answering the Craigslist ads…deal?” The wonderful thing about writing is that we can do whatever we want so if you like writing for content mills…do it. If you like answering Craigslist ads…do it. Write anything you darn well please because the definition of success isn’t always a wad of cash….sometimes it is just making it from payday to payday selling something you wrote and that’s okay.
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