Oh man, that is a good question and something that speaks to me on about a million levels.
Honestly, writing (and creative careers in general) are tough, not just because of finances, but because you have to sell yourself, your work, get people on board, and hope that they enjoy it. You’re pretty much relying on what other people think. Things don’t become big unless if people make them big, and you really have to put yourself out there, in front of people.
An example my partner and I have talked about before is Firefly. Firefly was one season. Just one. But fans today STILL talk about it and still hold onto the hope of a second season because they felt it was just that good. If fans didn’t love it so much, it still wouldn’t be talked about, you know? But that’s why this path is so difficult. Fans can make or break you, in an instant really. Which is why I get so irritated when someone is like, “Dur this isn’t a real job you know,” no, no it is, entertaining people is a job, a career, and its damn difficult. You really are taking a risk in the hopes of someone not only liking your work enough to publish it, but that’s just the beginning, THEN you have to get your work out there and hope that its well received.
And it takes time. It takes so much time. It’s not something that happens overnight.
I would say not to stress about finances, because if you stress about finances when it comes to this career then you’ll never even start, because you’re not going to make a ton of money right at the start. So I would suggest be smart about it because you do need to take care of yourself (food, bills, rent, ect.) I actually worked retail for a long time, the mistake I made was that I let that consume what I did and I pushed writing aside. Don’t do that. Find time to write, in any way you want, whether its books or articles or even just blog posts. I actually used to do anime and manga reviews, which kept me writing while I was working retail. I also wrote fanfiction. I wrote a LOT of fanfiction, but that still kept me writing and eventually fanfic turned into original ideas which turned into books.
Also do NaNoWriMo. That’s actually how all of the books I have out now came to be, I worked on them during NaNoWriMo and while I didn’t make the goal, it got all of my ideas going and my work went in the direction I wanted it to, and it was amazing.
This woman is amazing. She gives phenomenal advice and is as real as they get.
First of all, thank you for saying such nice things :)
Second of all, I want to add something else to what I said. I think one of the coolest things about the writing career is that, chances are, you’ve probably already started without even realizing it.
For instance, here is a picture:
What is this, you ask? Why, it’s the cover to my third book, “Seeking the Storyteller.” Now what I mean by “you probably already started your career by not realizing it” is that, honestly, you probably do write more than you realize, and are more creative than you give yourself credit for.
This book right here started waaaaaay back in college, back when I would chat with my partner (aka: the wifey/my costume maker/my coauthor) online every night. We were long distance at the time, so we would chat to talk to one another. Chatting turned into roleplaying with random anime/video game/comic book characters, making up stories, and spending hours and hours with them. At some point, those characters became our characters, because we were giving them traits that we wanted them to have, making them the gender we wanted, making up our own back stories and plots, and creating a world all on our own.
That’s what this book series is.
Now, at the time, did we realize that our nights of roleplaying would be a book series that people could purchase and read for themselves? Absolutely not. But at some point we realized, “Hey wow, this is actually pretty good, maybe we could do something with this.” And we did :)
It hasn’t been easy. It never has been or will be easy to get your stories out there and to have them be well received. Our story here has gotten its fair share of low reviews, but its also gotten some high ones. Online sales haven’t been that great, but it seems to do well enough at conventions. With writing, you really do have to keep going. The only person who is going to get your work out there is yourself. Sure, your publisher will help, but no one can be as passionate about your work as you can, and let me tell you, that is a big selling point. People can tell when you’re excited about something, and that excitement spreads. When it comes to writing you need that passion, and sometimes, it won’t always be there. You will have bad days. You will have people who just don’t like your work, for whatever reason. Sometimes your book just won’t sell when you try your hardest. But its important to remember the love you have for your work and to keep going, because that love and determination along with your creativity will get you where you want to go.
Also, don’t compare yourselves to others. Don’t look at another writer and wonder why you aren’t there yet, or how can that person be so popular when you feel that their writing is just bad. This isn’t about them, this is about you and your work. Don’t wonder why your work isn’t hailed like Harry Potter, this is a long process and takes time. Harry Potter wasn’t written in a day and it certainly didn’t become a hit right away. It might feel like it has, but if you look into it, you’ll see that everyone started somewhere, everyone got told no (sometimes several times, my first book “Treat Me Kindly” was rejected ten times), everyone felt like giving up, and everyone took a deep breath and kept going.
Writing starts when you pick up that pen and notebook (or open that Word document, most likely). Worry about the fame and money and all that later, if that’s all you’re here for then you’re just going to make yourself miserable while you wait for success to happen. Write because you love it, the fans will follow eventually, but for now, write because you want to.