Can writers make a living from writing?

It is certainly true to say that many writers around the world make a good living from their craft.  Vastly greater numbers make enough to pay some bills, but must supplement their writing income by having a day job. I was like that until I retired from classroom teaching.

It is probably also true to say that the vast majority of people who call themselves writers make little or no money from their carefully fashioned words. I make a little from my blogging but nowhere near enough to live on. Like many writers I live with the dream that this may change sometime. The Big Breakthrough. The sudden Best Seller. The rise to Fame and, hopefully, fortune.

Only a very few writers are truly wealthy from their writing. I’ve just read an article called “The 5 wealthiest authors in the world“. There are no surprises in this list, especially with J.K. Rowling at the top. She has made an unbelievable $4.5 billion over the last twelve years.  Some might think she was an overnight success. This is far from the truth; she struggled with her writing for many years before her first book was published. What her story does is illustrate that we can all – no matter what our circumstances – live in the hope that our novel will become the next big seller.

Her story, and that of all the other wealthy writers on the list, illustrates again that there is not short cut to success. All wrote for many years honing their skills. All continue to work hard. Successful writers are persistent writers.

There is another large group of writers who do it just for the joy of putting words together. For them money is not the objective. They are just content to write for the sheer joy of using words. More power to them I say.

Reference: “The 5 wealthiest authors in the world” (click here to read it).

Writers and public speaking

I would guess that writers are mostly introverted people, happy to sit in their office tapping away at their computer creating stories, novels, poems, articles and whatever. Many shy away from the spotlight of public speaking. I believe that this is a narrow view of the writer’s life, one that is potentially limiting to their success as writers.

Writers need to be public speakers

As much as some writers might want to run from this suggestion, in order to promote one’s work the writer today needs to e a good public speaker. I have done considerable public speaking in other areas but very little in relation to my writing. Over the last 5 years I have had many opportunities to speak about Australian birds as a direct result of another blog of mine, Trevor’s Birding.

Prepare to be a good speaker

Joanna Penn on her blog The Creative Penn has written an excellent article on this very topic. Her article How to prepare for public speaking covers the topic really well. I recommend that you flip over there and have a read – or listen to her video. Excellent stuff.

Good writing.

Distractions from writing

There are many things which can distract writers from their writing. Some example:

  1. Illness
  2. Holidays
  3. Television
  4. Family
  5. Full time jobs
  6. Hobbies
  7. Lack of motivation
  8. Lack of ideas
  9. The internet
  10. _________________ (inset your own prime distraction).

Successful writers keep writing despite the distractions. They find ways around the distractions and keep writing.

It has been quite a few days since my last entry here on this blog about writing. I’ve still been writing – just not here. Instead I’ve been busy posting blog articles on my other two blogs. These numerous articles will appear on those blogs over the coming three weeks while I take an interstate holiday. I’ll be playing with my 19 month old grandson. That’s very important to me. While I’m away the blog posts will keep on appearing, both here and on the other blogs.

Why not take a look at those other blogs? I’d love you to leave some comments too.

  • Trevor’s Birding – about my love of Australian birds – complete with stunning photos of our beautiful bird life here in Australia.
  • Trevor’s Travels – about my adventures here in Australia and in Thailand and Nepal. Complete with lovely photos of some beautiful places I’ve been.

Television writers acknowledged

I don’t normally watch awards programs shown on television. They tend to be long-winded, drawn out and frankly boring affairs. Of course, if I was in the running for an award of some sort, they’d be as exciting as.

I didn’t watch all of Australian television’s  Logies Awards presentation last night but did catch the last half hour or so.  I should have gone to bed as I was very tired, but kept putting off the effort of doing so.

What I did see pleased me. Not one but several of the award winning actors paid tribute to the excellent writers of various television series. Writers are far too often overlooked in such events, but where would they be without the writers first having the ideas for the story lines, and then doing the hard work of putting the plot, characters and setting and all the other elements of a good story together? Without writers – good writers – we’d have no television drama, no comedy series, no films and little entertainment.

I know it’s not an Australian series, but I’ve recently become a fan of the American crime series called Castle. In an interesting twist, the main character is a crime writer called Castle who helps a detective and the police solve everyday crimes. I also enjoy the gentle humour incorporated in the scripts.

Enough from me: I’d like to acknowledge the fine skills of the many wonderful television and film writers out there. Well done.

Imagine it and make it happen

Today’s quote about writing:

“All the things we achieve are things we have first imagined and then made happen.”

David Malouf, Australian writer

Imagination is a powerful, essential, elemental, almost organic  tool of the writer. It is the driving force behind all writers, especially writers of fiction. Without our imagination our stories cannot take shape, the characters cannot come to life and the plot limps along until either the reader or the writer give it up as a hopeless cause.

But when the writer calls upon an active imagination, the story can soar to wonderful heights, the characters can develop vibrant, energetic lives and the plot grabs the attention of the writer demanding to be written. And when this happens the readers are carried along in that imaginary world of delights and the book cannot be put down. Hopefully it also sells many copies via word of mouth too.

But I wonder if David Malouf was actually thinking along these lines?

Was he instead thinking about dreams and goal setting? It doesn’t really matter for it doesn’t negate what I’ve already written. Dreaming big dreams and setting goals with our writing (and all other areas of life) can result in amazing outcomes. Without dreams and  goals we tend to drift through life aimlessly.

Dream big – you might just surprise yourself.

I’ll give you a few examples:

  • Imagine holding your first novel in your hands. Feel it, look at it, smell it.
  • Dream about the day you sign a three book contract – and the satisfied feeling it engenders.
  • Visualise walking across the stage to receive that literary prize.
  • Plan and rehearse what you are going to say and do when you launch your first book.

On the last item my wife and I attended a friend’s book launch last year. My wife took detailed notes on what to do and how to run a launch – and she keeps reminding me of this. It spurs me on to get that manuscript finished and off to a publisher.

Dream big.

Make it happen.

Good writing.