Do you love it? Do you love writing? When you can’t, when time or life or whatever prevents you from accessing your pen & paper, your keyboard, your microsoft word file, do you hunger for the moment you’ll have the chance again? Is telling a story, crafting a sentence, communicating a thought, an idea, an image, a powerful emotion, a truth, is it in your blood? Is it part of the fabric of your being?
Then maybe you should try to be writer.
If not, then maybe you shouldn’t.
I don’t want to discourage people with a passion, which is why I started where I did, but I want to be candid and realistic. Writing well involves time, discipline and hard work. Yes, writers are often glamorized on TV or in movies as living lives of veritable leisure, but few support themselves on writing alone. So, if you’re not in it for the love of it, think about something else.
Even breaking through and getting something you’ve written into print isn’t a guarantee of writing happiness & bliss. Your chance to get into print again might well depend on how well your first book sells. I’ve heard it said that the only thing less appealing to a publisher than an unpublished writer is a published writer whose first book(s) didn’t sell. I don’t know how true that is, but we need to remember that the bookmaking business is a business. Sorry to be blunt. Sorry to burst romantic bubbles. Sorry to rain on your art for art’s sake parade. But, if this is a world you want to be a part of, then a simple truth needs to be faced. If a publisher is going to invest time, money, intellectual capital and reputation on a book, they need to believe there will be a return on those investments. Period.
Though I published some smaller articles in a reference work in the 90s, I officially date my becoming a professional writer to the signing of my first book contract in early ’02. Looking back at six years working in the industry, even if all with one press and one main editor and one agent, I recognize that it is a tricky and imperfect world. Sometimes dreams are realized. Sometimes they’re dashed. Enduring the emotional highs and lows is made much easier by the realization that whether the royalty check is big or small, whether your publisher supports you well or not, whether your books make waves or ripples, that writing, that telling a story, is a function of who you are.
If you love it, do it. If you don’t? Then find something that you do.