Thursday, April 14, 2016

"L" Lots of Writing Jobs (no, really)

By Tracee Sioux

I have been a working writer for my entire adult life. Which means I've been a PAID writer.

I often hear writers complain that they can't make money from writing because there are no writing jobs.

This is untrue. Completely and totally untrue.

It's time writers' Egos stop using this as an excuse to not write for money. Because there are ways to make a living from writing. Today, in this market, in this economy you can absolutely make money using your craft.

How you ask?

Don't be an artistic primadonna and expect that all writing work is going to be exactly what you deeply in your heart think you want to do. If you want "to live by your pen," as Jane Austin and I vowed we would do, you have to take writing work.

I have written thousands of blogs, not only on my own site, but for other business owners who need my services. I've written mass numbers of blogs about carpet cleaning and the real estate market and lawyers. I have written hundreds of newsletters about everything from the pipe fitting industry to the tomato seed industry. I have written at least a hundred profiles on chicken farmers. True story. I've written website copy and marketing copy for ET healers, aestheticians, writers and coaches to name only a few. I've written thousands of articles for business publications, medical publications, travel magazines and community newspapers.

In other words, I've lived by my pen and made (sometimes scraped together) a living writing.

In my 20s I was working for a community newspaper in a small fishing village in California. A good friend of mine, also a writer, had dreams of writing screen plays. He thought it was next to death itself to go to work for an advertising or marketing firm and write slogans or marketing copy.

Guess what he does now? He's a high school teacher. Now, there's no shame in that, but I find a serious flaw in his assessment of marketing and advertising writing.

Here's why:

Every single word I have ever written contributes itself to the 10,000+ hours (waaaay more by now) that I have committed to honing my craft. I have learned so much about language and word usage and how to write a great leed or a catchy sentence by doing it for various industries and on a multitude of topics.

When I sit at my computer typing, researching, composing—I am learning. I am learning about a new subject and I am learning my craft. Getting better and better with each blog, newsletter or slogan.

It has also boosted my creativity. Think about it, if you want a creativity exercise don't sit down and tinker with a short story, figure out how to make processed chicken nuggets sound like a health food. Now that's creativity.

I've interviewed thousands of people about thousands of topics and I've found them to be interesting and enlightening. It has helped me in my writing work by instilling a natural curiosity that helps me ask better questions, which leads to more interesting details.

All of this cumulative knowledge that I've picked up lends itself to my worldview, which trickles into my personal writing. It provides me with more knowledge about more topics than 99% of the population has. If you don't think that makes my writing better you're bonkersville.

Being a working writer has funded my own art. Art costs money. I have to live and pay a mortgage and feed a couple of other human beings. Doing marketing and advertising writing has supported us while I've built a spiritual business and life coaching business, created online programs, published two of my own labor of love Soul Purpose books and launched a publishing company.

Aong the way, everything I've learned about marketing, advertising, social media, online media, web design, blog writing and newsletters has been incorporated into a sustainable profitable business model.

Everyone wants to be a writer until they find out it's actually work.

To be a working writer you must understand that it's actually work. This may sound obvious, but I've discovered that it's not. As my writing and marketing business has grown I started hiring other writers.

There emerged a pattern: they want to be a writer until they find out that it's actually work. Not as fun as they thought it would be. It's really hard to come up with 120 blog topics about a software product in a few months. It's difficult to make a newsletter awesome enough to make people open it.

When hit with the reality that it's work they quit. Often last minute. Often with a weird excuse about some drama in their lives.

So here's what I want to say to you would-be working writers:

You absolutely can make a living as a writer.

And writing is work.

But, it pays off in a million ways if it's what you really want to do.

1 comment:

J.L. Campbell said...

Yup, it sounds like you're living your dream and making your writing count.

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