My husband and I sat down a few weeks ago for our version of “the talk.” You know the one I mean–it starts with a B ends with “get” and has asterisks and exclamation points in between. Yes, the dreaded Budget talk came to our kitchen table. Yuck!
Not sure why all work cannot result in a livable wage, but that is life as we know it today. I think it is tied to something called “supply and demand,” and, where the arts are concerned, there seems to be more supply than demand so the prices go down and the wages don’t seem to reflect the efforts there. Many people draw, paint, create graphics on their computers, write entertaining letters, tell stories to their kids and are generally creative. In fact, most of this happens in just about every household with kids. Some call it “parenting,” and others call it “hobby” but few mistake it for a “real job.”
Whatever you call it, engaging others in the brighter side of life is something just about everyone tries to do, so standing out in the crowd as an “expert” in the arts is very difficult. I looked it up. NPR has a page that shows what Americans do for a living. It bundled “the arts” in with Leisure and Hospitality, which includes hotels, restaurants, museums and gambling. Huge area, right? In 2012 it had grown to 10.2% of all U.S. jobs. But think about it. You see restaurants and hotels everywhere. There are usually five or six museums in the larger cities. But while graphics, art, and even storytelling are ubiquitous, no one seems to have a lot of work openings there. And please don’t get me started on the state of publishing today.
Before I get too far onto whining about my chosen profession, I’ll tell you that if you’re looking to buy fancy cars and big houses, you may want to stick to other professions than writing.
But I still believe in the books with titles like, The Well-Fed Writer, or The Freelance Writer’s Bible–Your Guide to a Profitable Writing Career Within One Year. I’ve read these books, and Writer’s Digest since I was a teen. I still hope. The challenge is like everything else in life. You stand at the edge of a cliff with water to catch you far below. At some point, you have to screw up your courage and jump off that cliff. You have to reach out to a world where your mother told you to “never talk to strangers” in, and trust you have the talent to make it all work.
For almost a year, I’ve been trying this “freelance writing thing” without a lot of success. When my good guy and I had “the talk” I even went onto Monster.com and posted a resume for an administrative assistant. Not a whole lot of success or happiness with that–mostly my fault (“you mean I have to actually commute to work? I have to report to somebody? I make what?!”)
Then, after a few weeks of considering moves to states without income tax and houses we could actually afford, we finally agreed to stay here in Littleton, toughen up our lifestyle and trim the fat in our spending (mind you, I never agreed to go on a complete spending diet). I’m still here, writing two blogs a week, working on my novels, and enjoying a good life.
But I know that my freelance writing will need to be more focused going forward, and here’s some things I plan to do to make that adventure a success:
- Keep writing daily–but be more focused. I will work more on producing articles, brochures and pitches than planning the grand marketing campaign that will result in zillions of sales.
- Meet people — for writers and introverts, this is one of those most difficult jobs. Remember mom saying “don’t talk to strangers?” Get over it. I am committed to walk into at least three new businesses each week, telephone a stranger who may need content management help, or socialize (eew!) with people in the business world.
- Pitch!— You can’t earn a freelance article opportunity if you just think about the cool articles you can write. You have to make the effort to contact magazines, blogs, and others with opportunity to showcase your work. I am committing to contact at least one publication a week for this.
Do you think this will help? Do you have suggestions for me? I’d love to hear from you.
Meanwhile, on a happier note:
BOOK SIGNING THIS FRIDAY!
WhooHoo! I will be at Einstein Bagels this Friday morning from 6:30 to 8:30 to sell and sign more copies of Faith on the Rocks. The manager at Einstein’s is a wonderful woman who has already posted my promotion piece and has been very helpful in making this project move forward.
Why a bagel shop? I go to Einstein’s every morning on my way to the dog park. I fully believe in treating myself before I do my job of dog walking. Anyway, many of the patrons of this restaurant come in, sit down and read for a while before they start their day. I’m hoping that a local author signing will be interesting to them. If you’re near Wadsworth and Bowles in Littleton this Friday, I hope you’ll stop in for a visit.
Einstein’s is at 8246 W. Bowles Ave
Littleton, CO 80123. Hope you can come!