Being a professional and what it takes to make money from fiction

In recent weeks, I’ve come across two blog posts that gave me food for thought. One made me feel good about my approach to writing, the other made me feel a little naive. (There’s been a lot of that going around recently.)

The post titled The 9 Warning Signs of an Amateur Artist makes some very good points about what pursuing a creative career is all about: taking yourself seriously, entering the community, and having realistic expectations. I approach my creative writing career in much the  same way as I approached my technical writing career. There wasn’t as many applicants, so to speak, for the tech writing jobs as there are for the fiction jobs but the principle’s the same. Get good at what you do and keep applying.

How to Make a Living as a Writer chimes a note I recognise: don’t give up the day job. I’d like to, not because I don’t enjoy my day job but because I enjoy writing fiction more. But as everyone tells me, fiction doesn’t pay. It does if you’re one of the top ten sellers, but for most of us, it just doesn’t.  There are two options: give up now or keep writing and submitting work. Sitting back and sulking doesn’t get you anywhere.

This is what you need to do: write stuff, read stuff, seek feedback and submit stuff. Repeat.