I read a bunch about writing as a job. Chuck Wendig started the rabbit hole with a response to an article by Merritt Tierce at Marie Claire and then an article at Billfold by Ester Bloom who wrote another article at Medium which published another article by Martin Rezny. There is no way this is all that was written in response to this article or any of these.
And now I’m going to contribute to this noise with my post! Late! Wee!
I also listened to The Reality Check about the dream jobs recently. There are a lot of jobs in the world we don’t talk about. If you narrow it to legal jobs even fewer. I would be most interested to see a list of jobs that people think about when they are about 14-15. When we think that people (kids, really) are supposed to start deciding what to do with their entire lives.
Is there any surprise that we discard a lot of jobs as not real work?
Real work is stuff like police, doctor, teacher. If you asked my niece and nephew what the job titles of everyone I work with are? I’d bet they’d be totally baffled. (Heck, I bet half the people I work with would be baffled by what those titles really mean.)
I work with people who write. Heck part of my job is writing. (It is a pretty small part at this job, but at previous jobs it was a larger part, at one, the whole part.)
But they don’t count
This is a weirdly common refrain. The people who write and survive are dismissed.
Well that isn’t writing fiction. So we are only saying fiction writing can’t be a job? And then there is this implication that fiction is like writing or sports or dance or acting. It is one of these “jobs” where a few people make ALL THE MONEY! And everyone else does it because they love it.
There are people who get by or are even *gasp* successful at writing who you haven’t heard of. There are also people in all those other categories doing the same. And not just because you don’t like sports or x music genre or ballet. People actually can do that as work.
Back to the hidden jobs, I think a lot of these are hidden jobs. Out of sight out of mind. And unless you are interacting with project managers or writers or cellists every day they might as well not exist. So you think that no one can make a living making power points or writing romance or playing the cello. But they do.
So I should quit my job!
NO! The throwing out the job because one single book did well? That’s like going well I got this one gig so I’m going to quit my job. Don’t…
Yeah she was lucky enough to have a husband to support her during this time. And if you have the resources to do these things, sure. Though I’d argue that having a job has a lot of other psychological benefits so if you don’t treat your writing like a job then you will suffer those things.
I do think you can, and there are people who do, treat writing like a job. But that means you can’t get precious about it. Just like you shouldn’t get precious about any job.
Once you start to get precious about things you get fired. (I hope. I wish.)