Writer Realities #7

https://www.flickr.com/photos/derricksphotos/829680595/in/photolist-2gjk8R-5GMYHE-4QzWnz-7fgviN-ekHbtN-j1MDAG-k2e11x-6jLBxM-ajmari-bsHhYH-7NeGE1-amyCyA-7wyRvk-62nyxw-nvP4nb-acbosd-nSndsm-r3zNCd-363Kas-UQ71-bR6upD-rbQoyd-9zjpEM-bQctWv-86AZzD-adjFdH-8ksirr-7NUJ82-bxozPJ-bBFix2-8jUCyx-boLoqA-dex2Xy-9F1YYf-ejuZVD-bWaG75-gnyakN-dhbiNj-dLB8qW-dLvAwR-ng5p5V-a7m2Uu-cT2gTE-ejuZRD-a6igbY-8ksira-nHNxw1-rw8Xvh-ejAGGW-ejuZ3DIt’s well known that artists are likely to starve until they become successful. But I bet you didn’t know that the majority of writers who aren’t in journalism have a day job. With the exception of Stephen King (who shall be named the messiah of the modern novel), most novelists are also professors. So don’t count out the possibility that you will still have to keep a full time job when you publish your first novel.


A good example of this phenomenon are two of my professors who both have published several commercial novels. One of them is becoming wildly successful at his work, and yet he still chooses to have a university position. Go figure!

Writer Realities #4: The Whole Nine Yards

I would love to be able to say that we live in a literary renaissance full of high-quality text. In way, this partially true. Text – a word that no longer refers to only the presence of typeset on a page – is flourishing in the presence of internet connections and online media outlets. This means that the volume of work produced and published far exceeds any number before. This also means it is harder to sort out literary text from everything else, and it opens the door for writers who aren’t so special to have commercial success.

But, as long as there have been publishing houses, there has been a need for commercial success. A writer who doesn’t produce anything can’t have commercial success. At this point consumerism wins out, and those producing more volumes of work will likely be more successful than those who are not. The gist of it is, publishers want what will sell, not what will change the face of literature as we know it.

If you aren’t able to produce the writing, you won’t likely be commercially successful. This is likened to the phrase: if you want to be a writer you need to write. I’ll add to it by saying that if you want writing to be your day job, you’ll have to be willing to go the whole nine yards.