Seize The Dream

The world has changed.  IS changing.  I suppose this is not a shock as, in fact, the once true constant IS change.

I fell in love with writing when I was twelve years old.  It was one of those deep, gut level knowings.  This is what I am supposed to do.  My parents, while proud of my capabilities on that front, are eminently practical people, so they did their best to steer me toward more sensible forms of employment.  Shows how well that worked out.  I didn’t go anywhere near law school or a business degree.  In any event, they wanted me to be able to make a living, and I was raised to believe that if you’re smart, if you work hard in school, you would graduate and get a good job.

I learned 3 things in the first year after I graduated with my undergraduate degree:

  1. Outside of academia, no one gives a rat’s ass if you’re smart.
  2. No one cares what kind of grades you made in school after you graduate (unless you are going on to higher education).
  3. Only a very, VERY select few actually get a good job upon graduation.  Everyone else is going to be stuck applying for the crappiest of jobs and competing against those without degrees but who have been out there getting job experience.

Cynical but completely true.

As my husband trolls job listings now, armed with his shiny new degree, we can see that in the current economy, things are even worse than they were ten years ago.  He ran across one posting this week for an entry level position–that required 8 years of experience.  Talk about a catch 22.  How does one get years of experience for an entry level position if those years are required to enter at the bottom?  Doesn’t look like he’s going to be getting out of HIS lousy job any time soon.  I’ll save you my more profane musings on the issues of what’s wrong with the job market in our country.

Anyway, what I was working around to is this: Writing used to be considered a long shot, trying to win the lottery kind of career.  Your odds of making it out of the slush pile were about as likely as being attacked by a grizzly in Florida.  But considering that in today’s market, a bachelors’ degree has been so devalued that you can’t even get an entry level position that a high school student could do–no matter what your degree is in–I fail to see how writing is any more of a long shot than a so-called “normal” job.

Writing does not require a degree.  Writing does not require years of formal experience (aka past publications) or letters of recommendations.  With the advent of self-publishing, if you have a brain and the will to learn, if you put forth the effort to master your craft and set high standards for yourself and your work, then as far as I’m concerned, you stand a better shot of making it as a writer than you do of getting one of those “good jobs” that my parents talked about back in the day.

With self publishing, your employability depends on nothing and no one but YOU and your ability to run your own small business.  You don’t have to worry about being laid off because your position is being eliminated.  You don’t have to worry about your job being exported overseas.  If your boss is a jackass, you have no one but yourself to blame because your boss is you.

Will it take a long damn time?  Yeah, probably.  So will finding that next shitty job.  Wouldn’t you rather be doing what you always dreamed of doing?

SEIZE YOUR DREAM!

It’s no more of a long shot than a reasonably paying job, with benefits and an IRA, where there are actual advancement opportunities.  And you’ll probably like this better.

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11 comments

  1. This is so true, Kait! I’ve made money more in the last year than I did at my crappy part time job I used to have. (I actually like my full time job.) The key is to keep writing and keep publishing. This post has go to be SO inspirational to all the writers who really, really want to write but are afraid to take the plunge. The biggest investment is time. Thanks for the encouragement!

  2. First of all, great post as usual. I don’t always comment, but I read them all! 🙂

    Second, I don’t know if you read thepassivevoice.com, but this morning they had a VERY interesting article about KDP Select posted. You talked before about how bad it is for some readers, this talks about how it could be really bad for authors, too. And not just the obvious putting all your eggs in one basket idea.

    https://www.eviscerati.org/commentary/2012/02/07/everything-old-new-again-why-kdp-select-probably-isnt-good-self-published

  3. 1. Thanks for the inspiration. I needed the reminder that I. Need. To. Write.

    2. With your opening sentence, I read this whole post in the voice of Galadriel. Awesome. (But I kept expecting you to say you could feel it in the air… oh well.)

  4. Good points, Kait. I dreamt of being an author for over 20 years. It was only as I pushed 40 that I realized the amount of regret that I was going to feel if I didn’t give it one last try. That’s what saw my first novel completed and published on 2010. This spring will see the release of book 2. I have to work around an 11-12 hour day job, but I do it.

    -Jimmy

  5. So true, Kait! I had a family member say to me not long ago, “But why don’t you get a real job and work on your writing part-time?” If only this post had already been written, I could have just sent it in reply. Along with the addendum that writing *is* a real job, dammit.

    1. I’m pretty sure that there is a large segment of the population who would declare that even writers making 6 figures or more do not have a real job, simply because writing is fun and real jobs are not supposed to be fun.

  6. You could certainly see your enthusiasm in the work you write.
    The world hopes for even more passionate writers such as you who aren’t afraid to mention how they believe.
    At all times follow your heart.

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