The Ups and Downs of Being a Writer

I saw some interesting commentary on whether maintaining a blog is “real writing” over at Kathryn Mayer’s Writing Out Loud blog this week. This topic certainly got me going! No maintaining a blog isn’t just writing, it’s learning a certain software, editing, proofing reading, organizing the appearance of your article on the page and, in my case, providing professional-grade photographs. Then if you decide to write a book and self-publish, you need to acquire so many more new skills, and pay others for their skills.

writing-penI’ve been writing professionally since 2006. I started out as a freelance writer with a number of stories published in national magazines, but I did not like how the editors decided everything. Specifically I could find no editors willing to cover my favorite topic: midlife psychology.

Sometimes the editors were simply wrong, sometimes their English was terrible, sometimes they stole my ideas, and sometimes they cut my piece at the last minute, paying me nothing for a few weeks of work. (Thanks American History Magazine!) That’s when I started blogging. I for one am so glad to have the freedom to write everyday if I like, and reach those who want to hear what I have to say.

Freedom of the press is only available to those who own one. And now, I do!

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The downside to all of this is the unreliable pay for those of us who write because we love it. Through the years I have made money on sponsored posts, but most by selling my books. 

For those of you who read this blog regularly, thank you! I’m happy that you come here and follow our life beyond the big city, but remember, my only real income is from book sales. Please consider purchasing one or two today. It makes my day!

Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/midlifequeen

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16 thoughts on “The Ups and Downs of Being a Writer

  1. Laura, if you had written a scandal-filled book about the secret life of, say, Kim Kardashian, you may have had a best seller on your hands. (Please, don’t consider that comment as serious advice!) I am grateful to have a day job, but soon enough, I am going to be retired. I know my ramblings and photography aren’t going to make me money. The thought of trying to make any kind of money through writing is frightening to me, especially after reading this post. Putting up with clueless (and worse) editors who are under pressure to make maximum money for their publication, or not being paid for work I was supposed to be paid for, is not my idea of a happy retirement. I feel blogging has been a good experience for me, and I do intend to continue with it, at least for the immediate future. Thank you for this thought provoking post.

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  2. I can relate to what you are saying. I do think you do a nice job with your blog. It’s very well done. I feel the same way about writing. It’s something I enjoy doing and I feel compelled to do it. I feel like I give a lot and I haven’t made any money (nor have I really tried). I am working on a book project and I have created several writing journals that are for sale. So, I’ll see how that unfolds.
    I say keep doing what you’re doing. Give everything time and see how you feel down the road.

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  3. Thanks for reading and thanks for your support. I find it unfortunate that today we can publish to the world, but only the crap (like something about Kim K.) gets any real attention. Forget about my posts about living in the present or looking back over an action-packed life. I didn’t write this post to discourage anybody else, I’m just describing my own experience over the past ten years.

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  4. I read some blogging advice recently and one of the suggestions stayed with me. It was about being clear on your goals for your blog. What were your goals going in? What are they now? Do you need to amend or fine-tune? I think once we articulate what we want our blog to be and do, the path for achieving that becomes clearer. Some food for thought, perhaps…

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  5. My blog goals have changed as much as my blogs in the past ten years, but since 2008 I saw it as a platform to attract readers to my writing with the eventual goal of selling my books. Then I started this blog in 2014 just to see if anyone else found our move to the country to build a solar home interesting. Apparently they find it interesting enough to read for free, but have no interest in a memoir about that experience…

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  6. I love your blog! Having lived in Colorado Springs for a few years and having just retired, what you say makes sense. Also, i really enjoyed your book and the format! I read it slowly and sucked great deal of joy and frustration for you from it.

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    • Thank you Cheryl! PLEASE WRITE A REVIEW ON AMAZON for me! You are one of the few who make me glad that I write.
      “We read to know we are not alone.” C.S. Lewis And that’s why we write too!

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  7. I agree with some of it. I write because I must, but you’re right about it being for little to no pay. I don’t do it for the money, although that would be nice. I write because it’s the only voice I have and I just don’t want to lose that.

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  8. Hi Laura Lee! I’m going to be doing a presentation for our local library next week about writing so I’ve been thinking about this topic a lot. After five books, two which were published by traditional publishers and three on my own, I must admit that it doesn’t get that much easier. But the more you do it, the more books you have out, it does help to make sales. My latest on Rightsizing Retirement has done fairly well, but I think all authors today need to know that marketing your book is at least as much work as the writing. But make no mistake, it was no different with the books that were traditionally publlished. The companies did a small bit but then it is back in your own lap with a VERY small percentage of sales. If anyone is hoping to make a “living” off of writing books, it is still very difficult for 99% of us! But as for blogging, I am happy to draw attention to my books if that helps, but I mainly write it as my spiritual/mental/emotional practice. I get at least as much or more from my writing there as I hope any of my readers do. While my intention is to wake others up, offer as many ideas on happiness and wellbeing as I can, and remind people that they are in charge of both their own wellbeing and most of the circumstances in their lives….but even then, as I said before, I get as much out of researching and writing the posts as others hopefully do. I completely agree that it is a lot of work and if the money was primary to me then I would have stopped a long time ago. I think we all need to decide what brings us to the most joy and peace of mind, so if blogging isn’t doing it for you, then you definitely should stop and find something that is. I’ve enjoyed reading your blog for a couple of years…but “get it: if it’s time to move on. ~Kathy

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  9. making money at writing is never easy. But don’t feel you are giving everything away for free! Your blog is s great place to draw interest. Maybe only post ‘teasers’ of your work here? As for your book, it is so difficult to predict what will take off and what won’t. Keep at it, as long as you enjoy.

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  10. I’m sorry that you are discouraged. A target audience is difficult to find, I guess. I am a poet, so I don’t even go there… but I wondered if you have heard of the Rocking Self-Publishing podcast? Some of the episodes are about reaching target audiences and all that work that has to go into selling books on the indie 🙂 Best of luck to you!

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  11. Don’t stop writing if it gives you joy. Write for yourself…..not always for money, not always for what the ‘market’ wants. I go for months without posting a single thing…..then a flurry lately of pieces that were simmering. I respect all writers who need to make a living….but this also means discouragment and stress. I hate to see tou go; hopefully the advice from above will make a difference in your book sales….but your everyday tales of life in your beautiful home in beautiful open land are rich and entertaining. Hugs and please stay connected with us, Laura!

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  12. Perhaps a break is exactly what you need — some time away from the pressure to convert free readers into book-buying readers. Freeing up space in your life (and in your brain) for something more joyful is a very positive change. But I’ll also say this: jamais dit jamais! We shall miss you!

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