Wednesday, October 7, 2020

#IWSG Working Writer


October 7 question - When you think of the term working writer, what does that look like to you? What do you think it is supposed to look like? Do you see yourself as a working writer or aspiring or hobbyist, and if latter two, what does that look like?

It looks like there's a book about this subject, but it seems to be out of print and not in ebook form. 

There's a website article about it.
"The best piece of advice I can give you is to train your brain to think about whatever your day job is as being in service to your writing career. ...
I will always be a writer.
Everything else is just part of the portfolio."

While researching what "working writer" means, I found one way some people define it is having landed an agent and getting advances for their books. So here's a brief "commercial break" :

That's going on right now, so if you know a YA writer looking for an agent, please send them over!

Back to the question.

I'm guessing that a working writer is a writer who no longer needs a second source of income to support their survival. And many people, especially Americans, have a standard living goal of over 50k a year.

50,000! That's the word-count goal in traditional NaNoWriMo. (← click if looking to buddy 👥)

Is $50,000 enough per year in America to live? It's considered the door to middle-class in many areas.
Universal Basic Income might come into play in figuring out how much a person should need a year.
(We don't have that in America. But who knows what 2021 will bring. 🤔)
One plan suggests $2000 a month (for households making under 100k/yr). That's 24k a year. So if that existed, and writing generated the other 26k a year, there you go.
Biden has been quoted saying, "Getting an annual wage, you sit home and do nothing. You strip people of their dignity."
Trump's plans use income tax cuts instead, which results in more savings for the rich than poor, and nothing for those without an income.
Richard Nixon almost introduced UBI in 1969.
In 1797, Thomas Paine suggested something very similar to UBI.
There's a debate as to if UBI is mentioned in the Bible, and if it is pro or con.

I've forgotten the question.

I only have four books for sale right now. The two reference books are less than a dollar and the short story allows people to set their own price. Which leaves my speculative fiction book. 

Lumber Of The Kuweakunks on Smashwords

You can conclude that I am not presently making 50k from this blip in the publishing world.
Or even $2000 a month from it.
So no, in answer to the question, I cannot call myself a working writer. 
Then again, my day job does not presently exist (thanks, Covid). 🍞 Snookums is the breadwinner, and even that income stream is more creek than mighty Mississippi. But we're doing okay. I've actually lived on less than this in my life.

Does that mean I'm calling myself a hobbyist?
One day I might make far more. 
I do believe I'm going to need to publish more than four books for that to happen. 
I'll also need to work harder at promoting. 

(The Operation Awesome Team and I are working on a story about a certain book promotion opportunity right now. Is it worth it? Is it a scam? Find out in the coming weeks! YOU DO NOT WANT TO MISS THAT!!!)

How much per month do you feel someone would need to earn to call themselves a "working writer"? 

Do you feel it's better to earn income to support one's writing, or to use writing income to support one's life?

Regular followers might know that I spent the weekend doing the last ever Young Adult Scavenger Hunt (#YASH). Guess what? I WON the purple round! Okay, good news shared. I hope you'll have some good news to share too.

I have half a dozen book reviews to write this month, so please drop by to check those out. Also, #WEP October Challenge for 2020 - GRAVE MISTAKE - on the 21st.



  1. Congrats on winning the purple round. I don't define whether someone is a working writer by how much money they earn from it. I think it's trying to get published and writing regularly that makes a working writer.

  2. I'm in it for the creativity, the escape from real life, and the occasional kudos from readers. Money is nice, but it's not my first priority.

  3. Ha! I'm seeing lots of different descriptions of "working writer". On my blog, I described my day in which I have a day job but I've carved out an hour for my writing every morning and on weekends. I work, and I am a writer. Therefore, I am a working writer. I'm Gwen, co-hosting this month for the IWSG. Welcome aboard!

  4. Hi, J! As Gwen said above, there are lots of ways to look at "working writer." I do something every day to move my writing forward. I work at it every day, so I consider myself a working writer. I gave up on earning a living as a writer many years ago. I kept my day job, because I couldn't handle the insecurity of not having a steady income. I have to know I can stand on my own two feet no matter what life throws at me. And life has thrown some doozies! But now I finally get to write every day. So far I've taken in $14.20. But I write for me. It fills my soul. The $s don't matter. Hopefully I'll be a working writer for the rest of my life. Take care!

  5. I don't think in terms of money for working writers. I always think it's funny that people outside the profession think everyone who writes is rich. :) For me, being a working writer is more about how you treat your writing--if you treat it like a job (regular hours, etc).
    Congrats on your win!

  6. Mm, you know my thoughts about money and writing :-) But I still consider myself a working writer -- even if I did spend most of my week working in the garden (with veggies and chickens)!

    Ronel visiting on IWSG day Revamp Your Backlist


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