This is a recurring theme for many writers and the model for most initially. Stephen King worked as a substitute teacher moonlighting in an Industrial Laundry. I’ve heard Joe Lansdale recount his work in blue-collar and trying to earn a living on low wages while writing in the early days. These are the folks that made it. And when I say “made it,” I mean they were able to shed their day job and write for a living. You don’t have to take my word for it, but I would say that many writers don’t break out and keep a day job to the day they retire from the labor force. Then they may have the time to write full time, but there are still so many challenges.
In the old days, getting published was a tough gig in itself. Most publishers wouldn’t look at you without an agent, and finding an agent to represent a “nobody” was like looking for a Unicorn to bet on in the Kentucky Derby. Could happen, I suppose? If you were taking the right psychedelic enhancements. Or, if you caught a bit of good luck.
In this brave new world, writers are tasked with being a salesman and branding themselves somehow or another. These are time-consuming tasks, as you are suddenly engaged in several separate social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter and trying to balance being a good person and friend online while inundating your followers and friends with advertisements about you and your books. Social media can be a huge time-waster, and it is time you’d rather be writing. But it is necessary because you’re not Stephen King. You can’t rest on your writings because they need more exposure before readers start coming back and growing. But holy good grief, when will we find time to write?
All of these things are important. My publicist, Mickey, is influential because he gets me exposure with interviews on radio, television, and on the web, and magazine interviews. All necessary to try and elevate those books to a larger audience. But these things also take time.
There’s a new book coming. I just spilled some more blood yesterday. I also have three more novels coming slowly to life, but that takes time. Money is required to live, and at least for me, writing doesn’t pay enough to live, so the day job stays. Beyond the day job, beyond the duties of husband and father and grandfather, I still need to get these books written, and that is why I’ve taken a hiatus from social media and media in general. It’s horse-trading exposure for output and balancing life and writing. I’m sure many writers can identify, as well as other artists.
For me, I will always find time to write.
Thanks for listening.