Let's talk money. It's pretty much the first question I get when people find out I'm a writer. How do I make a living at it?
I need to tell you right away that what I say here is what I do. Other writers do it differently. Some have day jobs. Some have a patron. Some eat a lot of ramen. You have to choose your own path. I can only tell you what I do, and that I love it.
I make a living at writing by, well, writing. Constantly. I carry an iPhone so that I can pop open Evernote on any whim and immediately write. If I'm carrying a purse, there's a journal made of dead trees and a couple pens in there. There might even be a tablet.
Let me make this very clear: I write every single day, usually for hours. I have done this since I learned how to write down the stories in my head when I was five. There are two times in my life when I missed any days: I missed the day I had an urgent hysterectomy, and I missed 30 days when I had a mental health breakdown.
Yeah, a writer with sanity issues. There's a stretch.
In order to write every day, I write pretty much anything. Besides my personal work, I also write technical documentation for software and smut. Of the two, software pays much more. Go figure. I'm shocked, too.
By writing everyday and about anything put in front of me, I garner two major benefits: I make enough money to live in a pleasant apartment in the San Francisco Bay Area, and I never get writer's block.
Never. Get. Writer's. Block.
There are people who dismiss the idea of writing everyday on the grounds that it damages creativity. I call bullshit. That's it's own post for another day, but the upshot is hey, no one tells musicians or actors not to practice everyday for fear of nuking their delicate creativity.
By writing everyday, I've created strong, ingrained habits that cause my brain to get those ideas to my pencil or keyboard. It's automatic.
I do get blocked on specific pieces of work from time to time. When that happens, I set the work aside and write something else. I have more writing projects going at once, as do a lot of knitters I know.
I end up writing as much about APIs, other software doc, and smut as I do my own personal work. I love this. I make a livable income from half of my work, leaving me free to do the writing that's all mine. Pretty cool.
No, I'm not telling you my smut pen name. Awkweird.