When I was an MFA student, thanks to a visiting author program through my school and an author-interview radio show I co-hosted, I often had the privilege of meeting and speaking with a number of successful authors. Even if I didn't directly ask, one of the first things I always wanted to know was how the hell these people managed to be so prolific while working other jobs. What jobs had they worked that allowed them to write, or had they somehow found a way to make this writing thing profitable? I never found a definitive answer. Probably because I rarely asked the question. I wish I did. It shouldn't be taboo. It's a genuine problem, especially for young writers. In last week's post, I wrote about headspace--finding a mental and emotional safe space to write from. Along those lines, you have to keep in mind that writing creatively--for the vast majority of human beings on this planet--doesn't put food in your mouth. There are exceptions, of course, but they are exceptions. I like to think of writing as a privilege. If you're struggling to put food on the table, or if you're drowning in debt, writing may not be a top priority. Or it might be a pipe dream. Whatever. The point is, you have to decide how you're going to make ends meet and pursue this writing thing at the same time. If this seems like a daunting task to you, you're not alone. Very few people out there manage to avoid this struggle early in their careers. If you get a chance to talk with someone who has, ask them how they did it, and let me know.
Every Wednesday, as I draft my second novel, I will be posting writing tips, advice, and tough love reminders for myself and anyone who may need it. Feel free to share your own.