On Being A Writer.

Tonight, an author friend posed this question in a discussion group: Is being a writer just a pipe dream?

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She asked this in response to a controversial tweet by Diana Gabaldon, author of the Outlander series, last week:
‘English Major = Want Fries With That? Pick something that will give you enough money to write what you want.’ (Follow the link to the full article.)

It’s a thought-provoking question. Can I legitimately call myself a writer or a poet if that’s not my main source of income? Without a doubt, yes!

Authors throughout history have held other jobs to survive while they pursued their writing.  I’m just one in a very long list.

In this world, being “just” a writer is the domain of very few.

However, being a writer AND having another job doesn’t mean one is not a writer.
I don’t make enough out of writing to quit my job… far from it… but writing is both my passion and my therapy, so if I can cover my expenses… in my mind, that’s a good outcome.

If my writing helps someone feel that they’re less alone, or less weird, or can better understand someone else’s situation… that’s far more like what I want to achieve, particularly with my poetry.

I’d like to sell more books, sure. But not doing so isn’t going to stop me writing. And it won’t make me any less a writer.

You just wait til I’m dead. (Hopefully not any time soon.)
My poetry will go off the charts then.

Maybe you should buy a signed copy from me while you can.

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17 thoughts on “On Being A Writer.

  1. This is a question that seems to come up a lot and like you said it is a no-brainer. What artist of any type didn’t struggle for recognition and not have to do other work as well? Those that look down on us mere mortals are usually those who have made it and forgotten their roots.

  2. Great Article!

    Did you know John Grisham used to drive around and beg people to buy his books from the trunk of his car? Hard to imagine this now… Hopefully at least one person reading this will make a very good living at writing. It isn’t a pipe dream at all to believe that hard work, devotion and creativity can move mountains. Keep writing and shooting for the stars.

  3. Loved this blog post. It’s something that has crossed my mind from time to time. And you raise some great points, you’re a writer and an author no matter what the “day” job is!

  4. We share a similar mindset regarding the purposes of our work. Thanks for sharing this. It IS nice to know we’re not alone, as our passion to write dictates that we must be sometimes.

  5. I actually only work my other jobs to support my writing at this time. Any extra money I have goes towards either buying me time, or production and marketing of books. Time is important, and I try and maintain a balance between my three jobs and writing. Luckily, all of my jobs (English teacher, Private Investigator, and Army Reserves Officer) have a considerable amount of downtime and I maintain the ability to write anywhere.
    Writing is also a state of mind. I cannot turn my brain off. I am a sponge and I remember the smallest of gestures when it comes to sitting down at the keyboard. I am always watching, narrating the things I do, the things I see you do. One day,my efforts will pay off and I will be able to write all the time.
    I am taking the approach of “one job at a time”. I will stop doing one job at a time once my writing income can replace a job.
    PS- I have the summer off from teaching but still get paid, so watch out.
    Great post, Thanks.
    -Marc

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