Thursday, April 3, 2014

C is for Career (and more)

On this third day of the A to Z Challenge, I'm thinking C is for Career. Do you have a career? A career is a thing of the past for me. As for a writing career, it never really got off the ground. I've had more nonfiction success but my passion isn't nonfiction. Really, I never visualized myself with a writing career.

With fiction, I tend to chase markets. I thought it was fun in my younger days. (Truth be known, I still think it's fun.) But, unless on assignment, I've always started projects that I didn't finish, or completed but never revised. I always took rejection too seriously, and moved around so much because of hubby's work that any writing routine was a challenge.

Anyway, at best, I'm probably a mediocre writer. My sentences don't sing--not even to me. Not like Elizabeth Berg's or Nora's.

There was a time (in my younger days) I was driven. Not so much anymore. A successful writer has to put writing first. I can't do that. And won't. There are people, places and things that come first in my life.

Maybe I'm just Confused. Another C-word. I look at what's happening in publishing and sometimes, it just doesn't seem worth the effort. I read blogs that state the market is saturated with self-published authors creating ebooks, and that no one is making any money. I read another blog that says why get an agent, they have no role in our writing lives/careers anymore. Another blog will say publishers are cheating us out of our rights, tying up ebooks forever and a day.

Yeah, I'm confused. Didn't this used to be fun? Okay, yeah, sometimes it still is.

But, I wonder what I'd do if I was a writer just starting out, and didn't know what I know from years and years of studying, writing, taking classes and reading the trade mags? What would my career path be? Would I take the indie route and hope some witty tweet, blog post, interview would snag attention, make me a best seller? Would I pursue an agent while publishing short ebooks and stories, and hope one helped the other? Many writers suggest we do that--both.

A friend told me years ago that she didn't love writing enough to write for the fun of it. I didn't understand what she meant (and remember feeling sad for her) but I think I understand now.

Creating a Career in writing is a real Challenge. Everything has Changed.

I don't like change, even though change often brings better/more opportunities.

I like assignments. I like for someone to tell me what to do so I can just do it. Not have to think or plan. Just produce. Maybe that's why I've always chased the markets. 

Do you have a career plan? Share it with me ... better yet, create one for me.

I am blogging my way through the alphabet with others who are doing the same. 
Please support the bloggers of the #AtoZchallenge by visiting, sharing or commenting.  It's fun!


Bradley Charbonneau said...

I think I long gave up on writing as a career. That's helped me keep it fun. When I take it too seriously, it becomes a burden, but if you just let it be what it was meant to be, maybe it can go from Career to ... Catnip. ;-)

Elsie Amata said...

I had to laugh - create one for me. No thanks, I've had a couple of career changes over the course of my life and now, well, I'm home. But, I write and that makes me quite Content. =)

AJ's wHooligan in the A-Z Challenge

Jess * Jessie * Jessy said...

Bradley - thanks. Looking forward to the Catnip!

Charles Gramlich said...

I have a career. Aspects of it have gone well. Others not so much. It has certainly kept me busy.

Cathy said...

I always knew that usually, you can make far more money, and work far less hard, in a regular job. And so I did that. I worked as a nutritionist, and then as children's librarian. Besides it being a wonderful job, there were other benefits: A good income. Health care insurance. Retirement.

Being a librarian was completely fulfilling until I burned out after 11 years. And I will admit,whenever I bought an author's new book for the library, I felt a stab of jealousy. It happened year after year.

But I also saw how short-lived writing careers often are, and how books get forgotten and then weeded from the shelves. If I bought $60,000 worth of books each year, that meant I needed to weed that amount, to make room on the shelves for the new purchases.

Though I have completed 8-9 novels, I've never tried terribly hard to get them published. When I retired 1.5 years ago, that's when I started taking it more seriously. But now, it feels to me that the publishing industry has "gone to hell" with so many free, self-published books flooding the market. No offense to you.

In 2010, 3 million books were put on the market. Only 300,000 of them were traditionally published. It's getting very difficult for any but old, established authors to make much money at all on their books.

So now, I'm still working hard to get published traditionally, but I don't expect to make much money. If I don't manage to get published at all in the next decade, no big deal.

I am at peace, and my life feels completely full and successful without it. If it happens, great, but I'm not spending all of my time pursuing it. I'm at the age where I just want to enjoy life and not live with all the stress that was a constant within me for so many years. I want to spend time on other hobbies besides writing.

Susan Barclay said...

I suppose I was on a career track at one time. Like Cathy, I'm a librarian. I used to work full-time, but decided to cut back to part-time hours when my kids were small - both to be home more for the family and to do some writing.

I've had a few things published, but no, I don't have a writing 'career' at this point. It IS hard to get published traditionally, and I prefer that to going the self-publishing route. I'll keep working at it, and let it take me where it goes.

Jamie Dement (LadyJai) said...

Like you, I can't put my writing first. There are so many other priorities in my life. But I still try to write. Even if I am not a "successful" writer. :)

Jamie Dement (LadyJai)
My A to Z
Caring for My Veteran

Jess * Jessie * Jessy said...

Elsie, glad I made you laugh. But, really...I was serious! :)

Charles, are you talking about your writing career or your teaching? Both?

Cathy, words of wisdom and no offense taken. I'm not self-pubbed either though two of my publishers are small presses.

Susan, I wish I'd been a librarian. We make all the library sales (Cathy mentioned getting rid of books to make room for more) and though that's sad for the library and authors ... our good fortune!

Jamie, thanks. There are so many things I want to do!

Charity Bradford said...

Sometimes I want people to just tell me what to do, but thank goodness with writing I can do it for fun. I used to have a plan, but things do change. My plan now is to write the stories that make me happy. If they get published at some point...bonus! I'm willing to work hard but in the end, getting published is not going to control my level of happiness.

Good luck finding what you really want as your career.

Holli Moncrieff said...

I can totally relate to this. I've wanted to be a novelist since I was five. But then I became a journalist. It's so much easier to write what I'm told, collect my pay cheque, and be happy (if unfulfilled).

I too am confused over which direction is best to take. I'd like to be traditionally published before I try e-publishing, but agent or not? Small press or big press? There's so many choices…it's hard to know the right thing to do. But at least we have choices now. That's a bonus…at least, once we can make up our minds. :)

Ciara Ballintyne said...

I have a legal career, but I can't say that I have a writing career - I'd like to, but I'm just not sure that my writing justifies the name just yet.

An A to Z Challenge participant