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Uncertanity in a career of an author

What is a career for someone who wants to be an author, but is afraid of the uncertainty of it? Careers have always been a difficult topic for me, also one that has changed over time. When I started thinking of a career as an author, I realized the talent but also love I had for something that holds no promises. The uncertainty of putting forth an idea you have put your heart and soul into and it never be published. I really want to write for a long time but have no idea if I should take the leap. To all the authors, what can I do to keep myself afloat while writing and/or how to extinguish these fears?

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Archived’s Answer

Very few people making a living as an author. I would suggest that you find a profession that you like (perhaps not as much as being an author) and then do some writing as a hobby. If the writing starts to take off, you could then consider leaving your steady job.

Personally, I spent over 30 years as a telecommunication engineer. When I "retired", I started to write math and science books (self-publishing the books on Amazon). There is little money in this for me, but I do enjoy learning and sharing my knowledge.

Also, and especially for fiction writing, it would help (if not be a necessity) to have accumulated some life experiences.

Best of luck to you.
Thank you comment icon I appreciate this, thank you for the advice. Madison
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Moumita’s Answer

10 Tips for starting a career as an author
1. Study writing
Consider taking courses or attending writer's workshops to learn more about the craft of writing. The best path for each writer varies depending on your interests, time and priorities and learning style. Some of the most important ideas to learn as a writer include story structure, characterization, written dialog, pacing, formatting, grammar and vocabulary.

2. Read a lot
Writers develop a sense of storytelling and word usage through reading. This includes both fiction and non-fiction. Reading books you enjoy and challenging yourself to read different styles and genres can also help expand your own knowledge of the craft or teach you new ideas about how to compose a piece of writing.

3. Find your genre
While some writers work in a variety of formats and genres, many writers focus on writing in a preferred genre in one format, such as romance novelists, fantasy comic book writers or historical non-fiction authors.
4. Consider part-time work
Writing and publishing take time, and many authors work for years before their work gets accepted by a publisher. Finding another way to support yourself as you begin your career as an author may be necessary for you to continue your craft.
Consider finding a full or part-time job in a related field like copywriting or any job that gives you the hours off you need to write. You may find your professional experiences provide ideas for stories while paying the bills.
5. Write as often as possible
It may not always be possible to write every day, but as you're learning and working toward a career as an author, it's best to write regularly. There are multiple benefits to this, including improving as a writer from consistent practice.
6. Start small
While you may decide to start your writing career with a series of epic novels, starting with a smaller project like a short story, collection of poems, blog or brief screenplay can help you get a sense of your writing abilities before you embark on a major project.
7. Join a writing group
Writing groups give you the opportunity to connect with other authors and share feedback. You can find a variety of different formats and styles for group meetings such as online groups, monthly meetups, or even weekly writers groups that meet at a local coffee shop.
8. Find an agent
For those entering the writing industry, literary agents act as a bridge connecting publishers and creators. Agents can help you reach publishing companies that may not otherwise be accessible to you.
9. Save your ideas
If you intend to start a career as an author, it's a good idea to keep a notebook or document where you save your ideas as they enter your mind. Keep a notebook next to your bed to write down ideas that come to you in the middle of the night or when you wake up.
10. Network
Networking can be helpful in most careers and being an author is no different. You may decide to join online writing groups, attend writing conferences or conventions, or attend happy hours for publishing professionals.
Thank you comment icon Thank you for the advice. Madison
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angie’s Answer

Your Question: What is a career for someone who wants to be an author, but is afraid of the uncertainty of it? Careers have always been a difficult topic for me, also one that has changed over time. When I started thinking of a career as an author, I realized the talent but also love I had for something that holds no promises. The uncertainty of putting forth an idea you have put your heart and soul into and it never be published. I really want to write for a long time but have no idea if I should take the leap. To all the authors, what can I do to keep myself afloat while writing and/or how to extinguish these fears?

My Thoughts:

Hi, Madison!

What a thoughtful paragraph. Well, I am a writer and aspiring author. You are correct. Becoming a full-time author is difficult and unsteady at best. So, to help with paying for a car and rent and food....many wanna-be authors become freelance writers. This means they write for various industries like magazines, healthcare, tech companies, and anything really that has writing in it, like a brochure, leaflets, websites, and school information for colleges. These places all hired freelance writers. The pay varies, but it's a writing job and keeps you sharp while you work on your books.

I also worked for a literary agent for a time. You can do that to make a paycheck, and you get to see what goes on from the inside of the business. You will make great contacts there as well, and that can help you get published. Many agents hire assistants to read through slush - which is unsolicited query letters from hopeful writers. Most are awful. Some are good, and you might find a gem. It's a fun job, fast-paced and tiring, but fun!

Now, I am teaching writing courses - which is another avenue for a paycheck while you work on your book. Classes vary, and so do payments, but it's a great way to meet other writers and really help aspiring writers. I love it. I'm revising a Middle-Grade novel - almost done...and soon I will be querying. Teaching a few courses helps me stay focused on the outside world, as when I write, I get really focused on the inside and forget about doing anything else. Teaching gets me out of my home office and into the community.

About your writing fears: They never go away, at least for my writer friends and me. We all have fears of our best work being ignored or never published. That's part of it. But I think that's part of any creative work. It's heartbreaking at times, and yet, so exciting, too. Your skin must thicken. You will get tons of Nos before you get a Yes. But I can't say I'd rather do anything else - I love writing!

Good luck! Follow your passions.... no matter the uphill battles and you will be a happier, healthier, more joyful person on this planet.

Write~on
Angie
Oh - I also have a writing blog at Teazurs. blogspot com if you want to read more about writing.

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Tara’s Answer

Hi Madison!

Start today by downloading Kindle Create to your desktop (it's free software that will help you self-publish). Write your own book and submit it to Amazon. Although being an author is an uncertain career, there are a lot of skills that you can work on to bring in some side income. For example, the skill of copywriting is coveted by many employers, and knowing how to be a good copywriter can help "level up" your own material. Write all the time, every day. Self-publish essays on Medium.com. Start a blog and then make some income by partnering with companies to sell their products (Affiliates). If your blog brings enough traffic in, you can make money when people click on ads. Offer to write copy for someone's website and build up your resume. The good news is that in this day and age, it's much easier to get your content out there to the masses. True, it's difficult to make a lot of money when selling e-books, but it's a great way to get started. When you have a chance, read "The Artist's Way." It's a step-by-step plan for developing your creative self. There is a technique called: "Morning Pages" (which is basically free writing up to three pages every morning when you wake up). It's a tried and true method that professional writers use to unlock their creative potential.

I hope this helps!
Thank you comment icon I'm excited to put your great advice to good use! Madison
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Mark’s Answer

John Grisham worked as a lawyer and wrote his first book in his spare time. He paid to have his first book published. This is called using the "vanity press." He drove around with a couple hundred books in the trunk of his car and gave them away at parties and other social events.

Later on, as you know, he stopped being a lawyer and started being a paid author.
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Helen’s Answer

Great question! You can actually pursue a career in film/TV which is a little steadier than jumping straight into writing books full-time. Breaking into Hollywood can be challenging but it's not impossible. It's also a great way to practice writing for different formats. A lot of people do both writing for TV and books. It's hard, but don't be discouraged by the instability of the field. If it's your passion, then you should definitely pursue it. Good luck!

Helen recommends the following next steps:

Self-publish your own e-book.
Look into internships.
Start writing and sharing it.
Reach out to your favorite authors for more advice.
Thank you comment icon Thanks for the help. Madison
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Tom’s Answer

Read, write, read some more, write a LOT more.
Repeat. Over and over.
If you have a passion for writing, you will learn. If you don't, that will be revealed.
It's blunt, but it's honest.
Just write.
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Fernando’s Answer

It takes a lot in order to become a fulltime author. The uncertainty of whether your work will be published or if it will make enough money to sustain you is an anxiety that all authors go through. Don't let it discourage you from pursuing you dream. While striving to be a fulltime author it's important to remember that your writing talents can function in various other fields. Copywriting, editor/proofreader and column writing are just a few of the many options you have to help keep you stay afloat financially. It's important to remember that most fulltime authors first started by getting their works published on the side while working other writing jobs.

Think of your favorite authors and dig into their early career and you'll see that many started in an editing room, data entry or helping to write adds. Very rarely can someone immediately jump into fulltime writing from the beginning. Just remember to try and pursue jobs that play into your strengths as a writer, while using your free time to write or develop ideas for stories you're curious about.
Thank you comment icon Thanks for the advice. Madison
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