Rules on how to be a successful writer are as fluid as how to be a successful librarian. Everyone and their sixteen cousins has an opinion on what the “right” or “correct” way to get ahead in this tough industry. I’ve been reading blogs, books, magazines on/about writing for years and the only consistent everyone agrees upon is:
Read. Write. Everyday.
That’s the easy part. Now that’s done, you start asking harder questions such as: Where to submit? How to submit? Should I go indie or should I go traditional? How do I invoice for work? How do I do X,Y,Z? What kind of coffee should I be drinking? Should I brush my teeth today? I mean, there are a fuck ton of questions and ten times the answers.
It’s overwhelming. Confusing. Often contradictory. No wonder people give up.
I’m friends with a lot of writers: some who are traditionally published, others who are indie, and others yet who a hybrid of the two. Most write fiction, some also write in other areas such as articles for news sites, non-fiction, graphic novels, and everything in between. Some dabble in other arts or may have a job or a career in a field not related to their work. But the common thread between all of them is that like librarianship, calling yourself a “writer” really on scratches the surface. It can mean anything and everything in one go.
You write? You’re a writer. Simple. It’s great if you have a tight story and your prose is perfect, but unless you’re content to write for yourself and not have the world see your work, this is the hard shit. The difficult shit. Writing is actually the easy part, it’s the admin work that kills you.
Since I have the opportunity to quit my full time job and write fiction for a year, one thing that is important to me was transparency. Here is what I did, this is what worked and what didn’t. This is what I’ll do again, and this is where else I’ll go. All the gory, juicy, and miserable stuff that no one wants to talk about. And to make sure it is without bullshit. Because I swear to all the gods in the sky, if I stumble across one more author’s site hawking their classes and wares with borderline exploitative pricing, I am going to scream.
It’s been nearly a year, to the day, that I wrote this and in light of what I wrote yesterday, it seemed apropos to post. And it’s a swift kick in the pants to keep my word on the transparency of the projects.