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Any writers?

Discussion in 'The Reading Room' started by MelissaAnne, May 19, 2006.

  1. MJCR

    MJCR One of the Regulars

    I've dabbled in writing, but never got published apart from some non-fiction articles. I settled down on the other side of things and currently work as a fiction editor.
     
  2. I work in finance and my career has mainly been trading, managing trading desks and businesses and, later, managing money management businesses. At various points, I also wrote financial and economic commentary and analysis that was published in client newsletters, etc. Some of it was also picked up by various websites and I've also been paid to write commentary / analysis for financial websites.

    I greatly enjoyed doing it, but being direct, it is a grinding way to make a living versus trading and managing. Currently, I work for myself trading and managing money and have thought a lot about writing. I've been asked by a few websites and companies who are familiar with my work to write for them, but again, the compensation isn't great versus the amount of time, research and effort that goes into it. And while it is nice to say, just do it 'cause you enjoy it, I have - like all of us - bills to pay and only so much free time - so for now, I am not writing professionally, but think there will be a time when I do so again.
     
  3. While it wasn't for p51, it still might be a dream job for you. What makes one person not enjoy a job or enjoy a job, won't be the same for the next person. I have disliked jobs that co-workers have loved doing and vice versa.
     
  4. Tiki Tom

    Tiki Tom Practically Family

    Oh, okay. I'll add my 2 cents. Have written 3 books. 1st one (murder mystery, 60K words) got as far as a second reading by an Agent. Second one (fictional historical adventure, 120K words) I got exactly one nibble out of 60 query letters. Third one is a non-fiction travel guide/history about my adopted home city of Vienna... I think I will self-publish this one as I really view it as being "for my children". All this makes it sound as though I am a big flop as a writer, but it is ---I suppose--- not really the case, if only because I genuinely enjoy writing and can't seem to stop myself. In fact, I am now almost 20K words into a new murder mystery. I guess that makes me a devoted hobbyist. Either that or a glutton for punishment. [huh]
     
  5. AmateisGal

    AmateisGal I'll Lock Up

    This is true. :)

    The longer I hold down a day job, the more I'm beginning to realize that I would much, much rather work for myself and make a living with my writing. I'm not naive enough to think I could make it work on my writing alone - that's pretty rare nowadays - but combined with my husband's income, it would definitely be the way to go. I would probably get a part-time job - maybe two days a week - where I could at least get out of the house. But this 8-5 stuff, every day, has got to end for several reasons: 1) my health. My rheumatoid arthritis is steadily getting worse despite the medication I'm on. I have more bad days than good and it didn't used to be that way. It makes holding down a full-time job quite hard. 2) I really have no desire to work for someone else. I'm fed up with company goals and mission statements and program reviews and blah, blah, blah. 3) I've come to a point in my life where I feel that my next step isn't finding another job (I like the one I have, but I hate all the BS that goes with it), but rather moving toward writing full-time. Is this a pipe dream? Maybe. Would I find that staying home the majority of my time, working on my novels and WW2 articles, being able to go to the archives and research whenever I wanted to, etc., would be a bad fit for me? Maybe. But I'd sure like to try.
     
  6. AmateisGal

    AmateisGal I'll Lock Up

    Good for you! Writing for the joy of it is the best way to be, IMO. Once you start digging into the heart of the publishing industry and get so focused on getting published and everything that entails - marketing, sales, audience, platform, etc., etc. - it lessens the joy. It has for me to a certain extent. I do have a literary agent and we're shopping around my novel, but I'm trying very, very hard not to let the drive to be published overrule my love of writing. I honestly cannot imagine doing anything else. It's hard at times, yes, but if I look at my life without it, it would be like leaving a gaping hole in my soul. Does that sound melodramatic? Perhaps. But it's really the truth. I've been writing since I was in elementary school and started seriously pursuing it in the sixth grade. It's who I am. And that's what I have to focus on.
     
  7. AmateisGal

    AmateisGal I'll Lock Up

    I hope you do pick it up again. Writing for the sheer joy of writing is one of the greatest things there is, IMO. :)
     
  8. Regarding the above, I'm very sorry you are dealing with arthritis - I know a relative who has it and it is tough. Your second point about "company goals and mission statement and program reviews and blah, blah, blah" is what did it for me - I couldn't take it anymore. That is why I work for myself now. It is much less secure (in a way), but I am a much, much happier person. And, I, like you, liked my job, but the corporate BS - which has increased dramatically over the last decades and at an accelerating rate the last seven years or so - was just wearing me down. I am being very prudent with my finances as I hope to never have to return to corporate America.

    And yes, writing for writings sake is wonderful. The reason, though, I'm not writing for others (even for money) is that the type of writing I would do for them - timely economic and financial market analysis and commentary - has very tight deadlines which requires me to drop everything and focus on the piece at hand. That impacts my real trading / managing money job and, also, takes away a lot of the fun as it becomes about getting it done quickly. I'm not worried, I know there will be a time when I'll write more, but right now, it just doesn't seem to fit.
     
  9. AmateisGal

    AmateisGal I'll Lock Up

    Thanks for the good thoughts on my health. :) It's hard for some people to understand that rheumatoid arthritis is a lot more than just arthritis: it's an autoimmune disease that can affect your organs (specifically heart and lungs) and so much more. On my bad days, I feel like I have the flu - all over body aches, severe fatigue, hot, throbbing joints, and malaise. It really, really sucks. BUT! I am learning how to cope with my new "normal."

    I understand on the writing front how tight deadlines and the research involved does indeed take a large chunk of time. :)

    I work at a large state university. As you can imagine, the PC crowd is in full force, as is the behemoth bureaucracy that controls my every move. I'm certainly not getting rich at this job, that's for sure! Still, it has its benefits. I have access to a TON of fantastic research. :)
     
  10. I've done both -- written as my main source of income, and written as a sideline job, and I have to say I very much prefer the latter. When I was in radio, I had to turn out from fifteen to twenty pieces a day, usually on dry, dreary topics that interested me not in the least -- I enjoyed covering education and school-board issues, but the sewer committee meetings stunk -- and very much the only sense of fulfillment that job gave me was coming up with satirical slug lines at the top of each page. They'd never be read on the air, but they let me express my views on the topics.

    I did, however, win a Best Radio Writing award for one of those stories, and the comic slug line ended up on the award plaque. The story was about a long and winding debate among county commissioners over whether they should buy plastic owls to put on the courthouse to frighten away the pigeons who were soiling the brickwork. My slugline, immortalized for all time on my office wall, was "PIGEONS GIVE COUNTY THE BIRD." Ha ha.

    I made a living doing that for about fifteen years, and in terms of sheer page count probably wrote more words than Dickens. But none of it was of any lasting value whatever, and most of it no longer exists in any form. It was a living, and it was an education on how to work under deadlines, but that's all it was.

    My writing now is purely a side job -- I'm under contract to a company that produced CD collections of classic radio programs, and I write essays, booklets, and liner notes to accompany them. They give me the topic, tell me how many words I need, and everything else is up to me. I can have a little fun with the topics, or treat them completely straight, depending on how they move me, but I get very little editing, and nothing I've sent them has ever been rejected. Lots of fun and very little hassle.
     
  11. AmateisGal

    AmateisGal I'll Lock Up

    Fascinating! Do you edit book-length fiction?
     
  12. AmateisGal

    AmateisGal I'll Lock Up

    I used to have a day job writing all the time, too - I wrote the back cover copy for literally hundreds and hundreds of books. I liked it and even went on to do it freelance for another five years after I quit that job (they sold the company and moved it to another state). But I got burned out a few years ago and stopped doing it to focus on my fiction.

    I've come to realize that my fierce independence has only grown fiercer regarding my writing: I want to write what *I* want to write - and that's it. :D Which is why I quit doing all the freelance work (I also wrote book reviews and got paid for them) and decided to focus on MY stuff - my WW2 articles (where I get to choose what I write about and then pitch the story to my editor) and my novels. It's how I'm happiest. If I had to solely rely on my stuff for income, well, that's another story. :D
     
  13. Bushman

    Bushman Call Me a Cab

    Writer here! In fact, I'm on my way to a Bachelors in journalism!
     
  14. AmateisGal

    AmateisGal I'll Lock Up

    Huzzah!
     
  15. MJCR

    MJCR One of the Regulars

    Yes indeed. Sci-if, fantasy and horror. Before that I was a bookseller, then a head office fiction buyer for a specialist book retailer.
     
  16. AmateisGal

    AmateisGal I'll Lock Up

    That is so cool. :)
     
  17. Inkstainedwretch

    Inkstainedwretch Practically Family

    This is my first post. I've been a professional novelist for almost 40 years in the mystery, SF and historical fields. Was nominated for the Edgar Award for my first historical mystery. In an earlier life I see myself sitting at a battered desk, pounding an equally battered Underwood, churning out pulp at 1 1/2 cents per word. With a bottle of bourbon next to the typewriter. And wearing a fedora.
     
  18. Tiki Tom

    Tiki Tom Practically Family

    That's how I write every day. (have never sold a thing, however.) Harry O? Nicholas Meyer? Kenn Davis? Harry Angel? William DeAndrea? (I had 5 minutes to kill so I googled Edgar Award nominees for a couple of years in the mid-1970s.) Yes... it is true... I need to get a life. :eusa_doh:
     
  19. AmateisGal

    AmateisGal I'll Lock Up

    That is awesome! Welcome!!!

    Back in the 30s and 40s, it was actually possible to make a good living as a writer, I think. All those magazines that published short stories...Ladies Home Journal, Saturday Evening Post, etc., etc. How I wish that were possible today.
     
  20. Inkstainedwretch

    Inkstainedwretch Practically Family

    I started in sf. My first mystery was published in 1990 and was nominated for the best paperback original, so it was up for the 1991 awards. My avatar might give you a hint.

    Thanks for the welcome, Amateisgal. I'm right with you about the magazines. I guess e-pub is taking up the slack there now, but it just isn't the same.
     

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