I follow so many writers on my Twitter account, some traditionally published, others self-published. Lately, I’m seeing tweets from various writers in despair about their writing career. Some are told they won’t make it as a writer. As a result, these individuals ask if they should continue. With this article, I provide a writing reality check for those in the same position. Finally, I give advice how to handle it.
What Is A “Writing Reality Check?”
A writing reality check is when a writer, be unpublished or published, finally accepts these harsh truths about writing:
- It’s not lucrative until you become a best-seller
- Yet, many writers won’t become a best-seller (or become one after their death)
- The starving artist trope is real and sucks to live through.
- You need financial support to make it as a writer (either from a spouse, family member, or by working another job).
Some writers I know won’t accept the writing reality check. They rather continue their journey in ignorance until the truth smacks them hard one day. Only then will they accept it.
As for me, I accepted this check long ago. Hence, I stopped writing to work a job to pay off my debts. You can read my back on my About Brittany page.
How To Handle Concerns From Loved Ones Who Give The Check
I wrote this post because of a tweet I saw on Twitter on Thursday. The gist of the tweet was this:
- A woman said her husband came to her today and told her she won’t make it in writing.
- Now the woman doubts herself and wants to know if she should give up or keep writing.
Most of the replies told the woman to dump her husband and keep writing. All I could think was: Why did the husband have this discussion with his wife? I think there is some financial trouble going on but that’s only my guess.
When family or friends come to you to have a similar conversation, don’t brush them off as a “hater.” Most of the time these individuals see how much pain we go through during our writing career. The countless rejections from agents, the poor book sales, fretting over our manuscript, all of this takes a toll. Hence, our loved ones become concerned and talk to use.
So How Can You Handle This?
First, understand where they are coming from. If your spouse is supporting you financially, know it’s very stressful for him/her to be the sole provider for the family. Maybe your husband isn’t making enough money and needs you to pick up some part-time work. Or your wife isn’t like Gerda Koontz: She won’t support you for 5 years while you build a writing career.
Second, don’t get into an argument. While it’s offensive to hear “You’ll never make it as a writer!” the other person has the right to have that opinion. Instead, excuse yourself from the conversation and deal with your anger and sadness in some other productive way. Take a walk or write in your journal.
Finally, take a honest look at your writing. We all think we’re fine authors and there’s little we can improve on but that usually not the case. I know some of my first short stories I published earlier this year are not as good as the ones I published later. After that review, I improved my dialogue, character development, and plot progress. While it’s tough to do this, you will become a better writer.
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