I’m doing a writing course this week. The course seemed to arrive at the right time since I’m making a lot of headway with my book and I’m needing to know that I’m on the right track. My energy levels can handle a half day course and I made assumption that there would be minimal homework.
The content and pace is exactly right for me and it is a small and personal group. Exposing my impromptu writing to strangers is a difficult thing, invoking a lot of anxiety for me. Needless to say, the anxiety alone tires me out a lot. But it is a necessary process and I need to learn to expose my writing to people.
The instructor has managed our expectations to the point where I’m feeling disheartened. She said that most successful writers only come into their own by the third book. Our country’s most successful writer in recent times is earning about ten percent of a book’s retail price. I’m doing a return on investment exercise in my head as she speaks and I’m thinking that this route is looking less viable.
I’ve read many articles about how few entrepreneurs and small businesses are successful, despite the enthusiasm of the founder. They persevere despite all odds. What is interesting to me is the difference in the support structures of those in close proximity. When you start a new business, people are patting you on the back and wishing you well. Entrepreneurs are perceived to be brave and bold. But artists and writers are looked at with pity. “She’ll never be a able to make a career out of writing books” or “poor guy, he’s a struggling artist”. Why is it is so difficult to make a career out of something creative?
From where I sit, spending several years on each book and waiting to earn a pittance from book number three is just not fair. Why is it that I could spend the next ten years waiting to be successful? Why is it that everyone would be cheering me on to start a new business when I failed to make the previous one work? Even with a track record of failure, people would back that endeavour more than a book. It doesn’t seem right to me.
My husband often says that anything worth anything is difficult and I’m certainly not looking for an easy path. I just want to feel successful again. I feel weak and damaged. I feel impaired and unable to do what other people take for granted. I just want to follow my passion and get paid for it. Simple.
I still don’t really feel like a writer after delivering many blog posts and thousands of words in my book. I don’t think I’ll ever really feel like a writer. And it’s really unlikely that I’ll be able to pay my bills from my passion. Who wants to spend years building something that may or may not succeed? I’ve already struggled so much with my business and given so much that I got a lifelong illness. When do things start getting easier? What career path would offer me happiness and income?
How many people are out there doing things that are unethical, corrupt and plain evil, earning a bunch of money? It just seems so unfair. I suppose I’m supposed to see a silver lining in an outcome like personal growth but personal growth does not pay the bills.
As far as all the signs are pointing, writing is my path. I simply cannot give up on something that I enjoy so much. But what kind of hobby takes years to deliver output? One of the key aspects of being in flow is that you get immediate feedback. Perhaps I’m supposed to write my blog as an extra curricular activity and find a dreaded job.
Today as I sat in hours of traffic, I thought about all the people trapped in jobs they hate. I thought about people with amazing talents and gifts who are unable to bring them to fruition because they spend a huge chunk of their lives in traffic. What kind of an existence is that?
I know that I’m taking the remarks of one person down a catastrophic path of thought. But anyone pursuing a creative career knows the doubt and how easily it can be easily fanned. I know that it’s best to manage expectations because there are just so many people these days writing books, and so many badly written outputs out there. Expecting to be the next Elizabeth Gilbert would be foolish and naive for any aspiring writer. But surely there’s a way of making money off this passion of mine that is viable? Surely it’s possible to be happy at work and to pay the bills?
It feels like my dream is dying while I’m trying to make it more real.Follow me: