Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Is It Possible to Make a Living as an Author?: Choosing a Life of Writing - Part 1

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You're probably aware that being an author does not guarantee a steady income. In fact, most published authors write books in their "spare time" -- in other words, they write in the evening and pay the bills through a day job. It's only those who really hit it big that receive those mega paychecks. 

However, the publishing industry has shifted over the past decade. Authors these days have several avenues through which they can publish their books, and these new avenues have given writers opportunities to develop multiple streams of income.

So should you, an aspiring author, pursue a career in writing? It depends on these factors:

  • Do you have hobbies, interests, and skills besides writing? Is there another career you could pursue as your day job that could help "fund" your writing career?
  • What type of author do you aspire to become? The answer to this question will help to develop a business model for your writing career. For instance, do you want to solely publish one book per year through the traditional route? Or would you like to produce multiple books per year and take the hybrid or indie route?
  • Do you have a creative yet self-disciplined entrepreneurial spirit? Are you willing to take risks and invest time and effort into building your writing business for the sake of your dreams?
  • Or, do you have the type of personality that would prefer a steady, dependable career? 
  • Do you work best with a team and in an office? Or are you more productive in your own space and as your own boss?

Although it's not likely to "hit it big" in the traditional market, it is possible to make a living with a writing career.  

When I was a senior in high school, I sought career advice and direction from multiple people in my life -- those who were in the writing industry, and those who were not. One person's advice in particular resonated with me and confirmed what I'd already believed. 

This woman -- who is a very respected professional in the industry -- asked similar questions to a few that I listed above. She then told me that, personally, she'd much prefer to make less of an income and work at a job she loved rather than become rich but only work for the sake of money.

If you, like myself, don't have a passion to pursue a career that doesn't involve words -- then please, don't settle. I've seen far too many people unhappy because they did not choose the path of their calling. If you believe that God has called you to a life of writing, then you can trust that He will provide. (This is yet another point that my writing mentor mentioned.) 

If you neglect to do the work He has called you to do, then you risk making an impact on the lives of others and missing out on what He could have in store. (No, following God's will for your life is not always going to be safe, easy, predictable, or even make the most sense logically.)  

If you're at the point of having to make a career decision for your future, here's my advice: Spend time with God. He's created a specific and unique route that only you should take. 

Ultimately, the path I chose wasn't a direct result of someone's career guidance, but a response to God's guidance for my life. Ask Him to give you the vision He wants you to have for your future. Remember that nothing is impossible with Him. Then, ask that He'll show you your next step. 

So is it possible to make a living as an author? Yes. That's not to say it's easy, or that your income will come solely from the books you write. But if you like to work with words/books in general, there are several opportunities for you to potentially develop multiple streams of income. 

In the next post, I'll share a complete list of how you can make a living as an author.

{PS -- I'm taking a blogging break next week to enjoy my week on vacation. I will, however, continue MMC on Monday.}


Is It Possible to Make a Living as an Author?: Part 1 #amwriting @TessaEmilyHall

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Does the idea of pursuing a career in writing scare or excite you? Would you prefer to pursue to write as a part-time or full-time career?

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  1. Thanks for this post, Tessa! There are so many opinions out there on how to best pursue writing... I loved what you had to say! I look forward to your future posts. :)

    1. Hi, Maddie!

      Since everyone has a different experience in their own writing journey, they're going to give various opinions. For instance -- I have met professional writers who advised young people not to pursue writing until their late twenties. The reason they might say that is because they personally knew nothing about the craft at that age, and they didn't begin their writing journey until their 30s. While I believe that not everyone should pursue writing as a career when they're young, I don't think it's right to put all young writers in a box. =)

      Again, it all goes back to where God is leading you and the unique calling He has placed on your life.

      Thanks for commenting! =)


  2. Tessa,

    I am a student of The Young Writer's Workshop and came across your beautiful website from your masterclass interview.

    Writing is my passion! I am hoping to make it my career, so this post was inspiring!


    Moriah Simonowich


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