Today's posts meanders through a number of topics I talk about here (the monetary business of creative writing, a personal update, some meta writing about what's coming up next, and let me be up front with you––my monthly appeal at the end). But mostly it's about how slow and sometimes painful it can be to go from a person with a dream to a working writer.
As always, I ask that you help me to keep from having to constantly spam out calls for patrons and donations (and instead only bang this drum once every couple of weeks) by helping this post on social media with comments and reactions (even if you're only dropping your favorite meme or gif in the comments).
Biz of Creative Writing
Almost no writer out there working for a living––and even preciously few of the household names–– simply wrote a novel, submitted it, got a book deal, and then forever became a writer by income. Most professional creative writers went through a period where they made some money from writing, but also had to keep working. I know New York Times bestselling authors with multiple books who have had to keep their day jobs. Even Stephen King before the fateful Carrie phone call wrote and sold short stories while he taught.
It's a sad fact of this career. Even if you give it everything you've got, and everything that having a career in writing requires, you will spend some time writing and making no money. Then you will probably spend some time writing and making a tiny little amount of sideline money. Then part-time income (even though it's full-time hours). Then somewhere on the luck/skill T-graph, you might find you're making minimum wage. Depending on your personal finances and drive to write, somewhere along the line, you might be able to start paring back on "day job" hours to make more room for writing.
Of course you can find other kinds of writing, from technical writing to content writing, and even make a very comfortable living. Going the creative route is usually a lot more unstable and unpredictable.
Right now, the money I make from writing means that I technically wouldn't die. But if I want dental insurance, a cell phone, and Ramen that doesn't come in a 244-pack at Costco, I have to do the side gigs too. I could also do better if I moved out of the Bay Area, but that's not really an option.
My schedule recently changed and the new one is a godsend. But I didn't know it was going to be there until a few days before it kicked in. My nanny clients were looking for work and suddenly it was like "You start Monday." I still had a month worth of pet sitting clients on the books, so I started my new awesome schedule while still working my old one.
Last week I worked 55 hours, and that was after I decided that, by fuck, I was going to take a day off.
The week before that was pretty close to 70.
Let me tell you, having no free time doesn't make trying to get back into the dating scene very easy . Mostly I just glower at OKCupid for a few minutes and try to make sense of the fact that they are suggesting a 58% match who lives in Modesto (a mere 90 minutes away) and wants absolutely no guys to message her.
And with a mighty cry to the heavens, I say "AND YET!!!!!"
As great at is is to now have the financial stability from writing and nannying to hang up my catnip mouse and leash, pet sitting was an awesome opportunity and I did it for two and a half years. It saved me when I didn't know how I was going to make ends meet. And it is thanks to all of YOU that this is even an option.
The new schedule is awesome, but what doesn't work for me so well is overlaying the new schedule onto the old one where I'm still running around and pet sitting and walking a dog and stuff. I've been getting my ass kicked pretty good these last few weeks. So, much like last week, I'm going to fold in a day off (Tuesday) and do some jazz hands this week. I've even got some guest posts that are really good for you all.
The reason I can hang up my catnip and leash is twofold. Partially it's because of the new nanny schedule.
Mostly it's because of you.
However, the new nanny schedule is only going to be around for six months or a year, and then the new niblet starts preschool and I will be less needed. So, as of this moment, I am on the clock. The countdown has begun. And I'm hoping beyond hope that when that time is up, I won't have to dive back into the mercurial and chaotic schedule of pet sitting.
If you like what I do here and want to see me do more of it, see fewer "jazz hands and guest posts" weeks, and more knock-it-out-of-the-park content like last week's Buy-Me-Lunch Answer About My Sexuality, I'm a guy with bills and rent just like you, and every bill I can pay with writing means a little less side-gigging I have to do. Those great articles take 20 hours or more from beginning to end.
Please consider becoming a Patreon. Monthly donations help me budget, even a dollar a month helps, and I set up one of my best rewards (the monthly newsletter) at only the $3 level because having a lot of lower-tier donors means that I'm not perpetually anxious of what will happen if an upper-tier donor has to pull the plug.
And if an ongoing donation doesn't work, you can always make a one-time donation here (or just click above on the "Conspicuously placed tip jar.") I can also do Venmo at firstname.lastname@example.org if that's more your jam.