I decided almost two years ago that I wanted to really take a shot at being a
writer, I knew the reality of what I was getting into. Or I thought I knew. Sure, I dreamed of hitting the Harry
Potter or Hunger Games lottery and being able to walk away from my teaching
job without any fear of literally becoming a starving artist, but I knew that
was unlikely. I figured that like
the majority of writers, I’d have to keep my day job and squeeze in writing on
nights, weekends, and school vacations.
Two jobs, no problem.
years wiser (and not a penny richer, unfortunately) I am wishing I had been
closer to the mark. In addition to
trying to be a writer and teacher, I’m now also attempting to be a blogger,
contract negotiator, publicist, website administrator, press-release writer,
and social networker extraordinaire.
Attempting being the key word.
seems the days of writing a book, finding a publisher, and sitting back
watching it sell are over–if they ever existed at all. Now even writers at the bigger
publishing companies need to wear many hats to be successful. Those of us at the smaller ones
practically need to clone ourselves or learn to live without sleep. I have friends with babies now, so I’m
trying to take lessons from them, but most are too incoherent to be
helpful. Not a good sign.
my pessimistic days, the expression “Jack of all trades” dances
through my swarming brain. It
doesn’t make sense that in order to be a writer, I’m spending less time on my
writing and more time on other jobs.
On my optimistic days, though, I look for the benefits of these added
duties. Blogging has forced me to
write in a completely different manner than my fiction writing. Though I haven’t attempted one yet, I
know writing a press release will also stretch my writing; I haven’t written a
news-style piece since high school journalism. However, in my opinion, the more genres a writer works in
the better. Variety creates
growth, which is a good thing. On
the technology side, maintaining a website and expanding my social media
knowledge keeps me up to date, allows me to connect with my potential audience,
and helps me to interpret what the hell my students mean when they start
talking in tweets. I’m not open to
accepting essays in 140 characters or less quite yet, but we’ll see. They would be quicker to correct. Finally, having to deal with the
business end of things, as well as having to promote my work and myself, has
certainly pushed me out of my comfort zone, which I also view as a positive
experience. I’m not saying I
appreciated the panic attacks or love the constant blushing whenever I have to
pitch my book to someone new, but I’m looking forward to the day when I have
enough experience that these side-effects subside.
aren’t too many people who don’t have to do some serious multi-tasking these
days. Back to those moms and dads
I mentioned earlier, they are the kings and queens of this, and I am in awe. They can juggle parenting, jobs,
hobbies and everything else life throws at them with sleep in their eyes and
spit-up on their shirt, and at the end of most days are happy they had the
opportunity. This is the same
skill and outlook writers need.
The more things I experience, the more accurately I can write about
life. The more I have to work to
be a writer, the more I’ll appreciate the time I get with my own
“babies”–my books. So
I’m going to embrace my new tasks, and I’m taking copious notes in case my next
book is about a person with a multiple-personality disorder. Tea, anyone?