The brutal truth
To be honest and quite frank with you, most of you won’t make it as a writer. It’s a simple fact.
You may gain notoriety or recognition here or there. Some of you may even make a few bucks out of it, but the chances of you making it out there as the next Hemingway or Fitzgerald are slim to none. That’s because the writers have gone extinct, right alongside dinosaurs and ashtrays. The world just isn’t the same place anymore. The novel is dead, as is the poem, and the reality is that there isn’t much room out there any more for writers. It’s sad, but true.
Luck is the most important aspect of it all, I believe. Without luck I don’t think anyone has a shot of making it as a writer. Luck and opportunity…both of them, and not just one.
Harder than it looks
Being a writer requires a lot more skill than most people think. Some claim that if they can speak, then, they can write. Okay, that’s true; but just because you can write, that doesn’t mean you can write well.
Truly, great writing is a skill that can’t be obtained no matter how hard you try. The same way that there are people born with natural athletic talent – there are some who were born with the ability to write well. You either have it or you don’t.
Good writing requires much more of an effort than most people think, an amount that most are either unwilling or unable to give. But for those who are willing and able to give a full effort, writing can be one of the most satisfying (part-time) jobs out there.
A short story: Humble Beginnings
The first time I got paid for my writing, I nearly lost it. I was so proud of myself. I applied to be a freelance worker on Upwork. When I lucked out on my first gig, I worked for hours on a 600-word article – revised it so many times until the damn thing looked like a Michelangelo sculpture.
I sent it in for review, and within an hour, my client responded back to me and said that he was taking the piece. I was never happier to earn $2.50 before.
He (my client) liked the work so much that he made me his “go-to” writer whenever an article needed to be written properly—all the other writers he would give the job to were no good. Our working relationship lasted a few months. I was still making little money but I loved the experience I was getting.
It’s all for your portfolio, I would tell myself, it’s all gonna pay off one day.
Over time, I would apply to more jobs and even get some responses back (mostly polite rejections, but responses nonetheless!). But after a few months of writing low-paying casino articles, I finally lucked out on a gig that paid me fifty bucks to do less work. I wrote that article and finished the gig and doubled my entire income of a few months in an hour.
Now, it’s a little different. I managed to get hired as a part-time editor, but I still do other freelance work on the side. It’s still not very fruitful, and my pockets are still empty for the most part, but slowly I’m making it there.
What I’m trying to say is that the process of becoming a writer is long and arduous, and can be exhausting since it requires a lot of investment for minimal pay. So if there’s anything else you can do – cable repairman, milk boy, paper cup factory worker, then, I would suggest doing that. Because there aren’t very many jobs out there for the few of us writers that can get work, and I don’t want to lose out on a job to some schmuck like you!