Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Work and Writing

I officially completed my Ph.D in May, meaning I'm far from joining the "long-term unemployed" statistically. The problem is that I have been unemployed off and on since leaving my undergraduate program at the end of 1990. Writing is an on-going project, certainly, but actual jobs have come and gone. Now, I worry that the cycle of jobs might not even repeat. What if, instead of a job for a year or two, there's nothing?

Yes, writing is a job. I know that, logically, but I would like a bit more security. I want some fiscal stability. I want to know I have a paycheck and a way to support my interests.

If I sell my writing, then I won't worry so much, but I am tense.

To treat writing like a job means I have to tell myself something will sell. That means I have to motivate myself every day to treat writing like a job -- but one for which I am not yet getting paid. It is exhausting.
Had I landed a teaching post, I would write and teach. That was the plan with the Ph.D -- security plus some time to write during summers. Now, I have lots of time to write, I suppose.

The key is to focus and build some confidence. To be honest, confidence in writing is not confidence in my social networking or sales abilities. That's why I would definitely do better with an agent. For now, I need to keep at the writing until I locate an agent.

Being social would help my career, no matter what I did. But, that's not who I am.


  1. Best of luck. I listened to a story on NPR this afternoon on an author who had been self-published, found an agent, and spent a lot of time hustling to sell books. It's a rough road for most. Glad you're willing to share your road stories.


  2. It is a mix of "choice" and "no choice but" to pursue the writing vocationally. It has always been an avocation, about which I am passionate. If you are interested in the writing career as it evolves (or devolves):

    It is a tenuous economy, so let us hope for the best -- which also means making every effort I can to be prepared for the unexpected, allowing me to exploit any opportunities that come along.


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