Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Art vs. Commerce (that old chestnut)

My first writing class  back in the late nineties our lecturer  told us we were extremely unlikely to be able to make a living from writing. I do, but only sometimes. Most of the time I do other work (teaching, workshops, freelance articles, book trafficking) and every year I think about re-training - even though my dream has always been to avoid a straight job. Teaching now I find that the question of economics comes up nearly every week, so I've decided to stockpile some interesting articles that address this ... People love the dream - when I was coming of writing age Matthew Reilly was the super success story that some people measured themselves against. I have also to say that there are writers who make money, and they are not always commercial writers. But even the outrageously lucky ones work really really hard. They read, they write, they promote, they become a brand. Writing is not the job for a person who needs to control everything because ultimately you cannot control what people will think of your book. And if you try you will only look stupid.

Award Winning Authors Struggling to Make Ends Meet!


Annabel Smith  On (Not) Making a Living from writing


How much my novel cost me - Emily Gould


Steph Swainston giving up writing to retrain as a chemistry teacher


Writing on Empty - the reality of having a writing career in Australia By Damon Young and Ruth Quibell


1 comment:

  1. I had to read all these articles in one go and I'm cross eyed. But can relate to everything. Being an author is really hard and thankless. I've just finished my sixth week of being a graduate teacher and I am exhausted from the workload, but so, so thankful to have a job and a paycheck. It is very hard to feel pleasure in your writing achievements when you feel the constant gnawing of financial uncertainty. I'm enjoying having some time off the 'povo artist's life' merry-go-round and don't know if I'll be brave enough to voluntarily do it again. All I'm hoping is that I get an ongoing job and that in a few years time I gain some measure of control with teaching and it's not so stressful and writing can be done on the edges. I have given up on the dream of making a living from my writing and just want to have a viable career where I keep on getting published. I think even that is an achievement in this climate.