Apparently I’m doing well

I just got through my taxes; yes, I’m late, but now they’re done. The roses smell the sweeter for not having that hanging over my head.

This is the first year I’ve filed as a full-time writer. I worked less than three months in the pet store in 2010, and all the rest of the time I was home freelancing.

When I mentioned my gross income to my sister, her response was “That’s not a lot to live on.” But when I mentioned it to my friend Angie, who is also a writer, she said, “You’re doing really well. That’s a good income for your first year of freelancing.” I guess both of them are right. What I made was not a lot to live on, and it’s been tight. On the other hand – and largely due to the Works in Progress grant in October – it’s more than I originally projected I’d earn.

What I’ve learned is, once again, how little I can live on. I’ve learned that even when I’m so scared about the future that I think my hair must be standing out in all directions, I can still write. I may have to cry first, but then I’ll write. I’ve learned the value of persistence, sending pieces out again and again, sending pitches into the black hole of “we’ll contact you only if we’re interested”.

I’ve been working more on non-fiction this year than on fiction, and my non-fiction efforts have got results. I’m beginning to see how I might be able to scrape by on writing non-fiction. Other writers caution me not to fall into that hole of writing for money and neglecting my “real work”, which is fiction, but other writers aren’t paying my bills. Besides, if I’m fretting about the bills, I can’t write good fiction. If I’m calm about the Hydro and phone, even if I have less time to write fiction, what I write is better. Like most things in life, it’s a balancing act.

I’ve also learned that I like writing non-fiction, and that I have two qualities which most editors love.
1) I deliver clean copy which needs a minimum of editing.
2) I deliver it on deadline.
If you have these, then excellent writing is, I’m told, a bonus.

This year I’m ploughing along, doing what I can to build my profile and keep the home fires burning. I’ve taken up pottery again, after having laid it aside for several years, because there’s still a bit of a market for my work, and having a different art to turn to helps my creative process.

I still hope that this may be the year I sell a book. 2011 is only half over, after all.

I’m still here. Apparently, I’m doing well. It’s comforting to know.

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2 Responses to Apparently I’m doing well

  1. Bluebethley says:

    Thanks for calling the submission process (“We’ll contact you IF we’re interested”) a black hole and for your perseverance that serves as inspiration at least for me to keep subbing. May the next 6 months find you inundated with writing of all kinds.

  2. ecreith says:

    Thanks, bluebethley! I sometimes feel like I’m falling down on the submission process – I’ve subbed about a hundred pieces so far this year, seven acceptances, and I thought I’d be ahead of that. On the other hand, I’ve had quite a bit of non-fiction work, which I track on a different page. And there I’m doing better.

    May you, too, have a sufficiency of writing to do (and, with any luck, be paid for!)

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