Why is it that some jobs are deemed glamorous? Doctors, firefighters, actors, journalists, lawyers and writers, all have movies, TV shows, and books showcasing their amazing lives.
When I tell people I’m a writer they always reply with wow and awesome – I’m guessing at this point they’re picturing a famous writer like J.K Rowling. Then they ask where I’ve been published, if I’ve interviewed anyone famous, and what types of books I write. That’s usually when the conversation gets awkward.
In reality a writer’s life is nothing like what’s pictured in the media. Most days it’s a bloody hard slog, and I spend a lot of time at events trying to explain what I really do. I often walk away from these conversations feeling shit because I haven’t lived up to their expectations. And a part of me is always sad that a writer is ‘successful’ only if they’ve sold millions of books, and had their work made into a movie franchise.
I wanted to share with you today what a writer’s life is actually like.
If only to save myself from that awkward conversation when we meet at an event.
- I own more trackies and hoodies than I ever have. And most days I don’t even brush my hair. I always clean my teeth though because I’m lazy not gross.
- Some days I don’t talk to anyone but the guy at the coffee shop. He’s polite and asks me a lot of questions while he makes my morning coffee because he knows I’m a writer and I get lonely at home all day.
- I spend hours reading other writers’ writing and try to support non-white writers because the industry is suffering from a serious lack of diversity. Most writers we are exposured to at school and our everyday life are white, middle-aged, and middle-class men.
- I pitch story ideas to magazines and online news sites and in most cases I don’t hear anything back. And when I do I get told they will publish my story but I won’t be paid. Being a writer is my full-time job. Exposure isn’t a payment.
- There’s no real industry standard for writing rates either. So every time I secure a writing gig I have to negotiate like hell and hope I’m not being ripped off.
- Book deals aren’t where the money’s at anymore. And many writers are being forced to conform to big online corporations like Amazon – who want page turners not necessarily insightful writing – so they can get their work in front of people. This is why I’m not writing a book anytime soon.
- Being a writer doesn’t mean I only write books and interview people. There are so many other forms of writing – technical, copywriting, autobiographies, script and film, comic strips, and many more. Copywriting, which I love, pays the rent, not fiction pieces like Harry Potter.
- It’s a dangerous job! I sprained my wrist once from writing on my computer for 10 hours a day for a week straight. Although I’m pretty uncoordinated and accident prone at the best of times.
- Sometimes I feel like no one is reading my work, and when a stranger says they love my writing I reply with a questioning really because I’m shocked. Later I give myself a mental high five and fall in love with writing all over again.
While it’s not a glamorous job, I still love my writer’s life.
Writer’s what do you wish your friends, family and strangers knew about your life? Share your thoughts in the comments.