My husband and I went out to dinner last night with a friend we don’t get to see very often. As we were eating our ice cream, she looked at me and asked if I were searching for a job — right after I just got done telling her about the revisions I’m doing for a prospective agent. And to make it worse, my husband is sitting next to me shaking his head no.
Don’t get me wrong, but last I checked, attempting to do something for which you will ultimately get paid IS looking for a job, no?
Unfortunately, this mindset is all too prevalent. Doing what we love, even if we get paid for it, isn’t a real job. It’s just a hobby. A side project.
Sure, getting published is something to be lauded and applauded, but now it’s time to go out and get a real job. Because unless you’re at a 9-5 job that you hate, you’re not working. If you sit at home on the computer all day, you’re not working. If you spend hours staring off into space (even if you’re trying to puzzle out a plot twist or characterization), you’re not working.
As so many writers before me have said, writing is not easy. It’s not simply a matter of spewing words onto a screen. Or jotting them down in a notebook. I can spend hours staring at a blank page trying to find the right words to describe what I’m seeing in my head. If I’m seeing anything there at all. Then there’s the research and the rewrites and even more rewrites.
And this is all before even finding an agent. And then there might be rewrites for the agent before they start trying to find a publisher. Then there are rewrites for the publisher. And you better believe that writing isn’t all a writer is going to have to do. I know of very few writers who don’t do at least a little bit of self-marketing.
So please, before you ask a writer when or if they’re ever going to get a real job, stop and think about how insulting that question is. And then keep your mouth shut.