I find it interesting when I say I want to be a full time paid writer that most people assume this to mean a novelist. I would be an absolute liar with his pants on fire if I did not admit that my ultimate goal is to have a published novel. My entire body would be in flames if I denied that I would be happier than a squirrel swimming in an ocean of peanuts if I was able to become a full time novelist. I want to be a novelist and my attempt to become a full time writer has that goal in mind. The reality is, saying that I want to become a full time novelist is similar to saying you want to become a full time rock musician or a movie actor or a professional hockey player. There are people who achieve those professions but it takes a lot of hard work, sacrifice, time and well, talent. I definitely have the confidence that I have the potential to become a successful full time novelist, but I also realize it is likely many years away, and it will only come from a lot of hard work and giving certain things up (no 8 hour rolling down hill sessions).
If this is all true then what do I mean by wanting to be a writer now? First of all, I am far ways off from being willing to quit my current day job. I am still looking to land a teaching job, which will hopefully become my 'day job' for the next few years. I do hope over the next few months that I will begin to gain writing jobs. I recognize that fiction writing is not a way to make a living unless you become established and are considered a big name writer (just like being a musician or actor is not a way to make a healthy living until you've become a 'star'). I find it funny that the same people that may discourage you from pursuing a music or acting career would not see the same risk in fictional writing. I assume that has to do with the lack of knowledge of the writing industry, and the fact it isn't held in the same prestige as music or acting (which actually means writing is probably even harder to succeed in).
Despite how bleak a career in fiction may sound, there is numerous opportunities to make a living off writing. Of course, every single one actually still involves a lot of hard work and about 12 hour work days (when you decide to make it full time). The way I see it, I'd rather work 12 hours on something I love, and get paid, rather than work those same hours on something I am less passionate about. Of course, not all writing jobs are incredibly appealing or glamourous, but I feel each can present an exciting challenge.
The simple reality is that we see the written word all around us. Who is supposed to put those words there? I am pretty sure it isn't black magic but rather people known as writers. There is writing to be done online and off line. There are corporations that are constantly looking for written material on blogs, brochures, press releases, articles and various other things. There are magazines and web sites constantly wanting written material. The reality is, many places do not have full time writers but rather rely on free lancing. Of course, the field is very competitive since many people would love a job that allows you to stay home wearing just your boxers and eating doughnuts, while pounding out words on your computer. I am also confident there is only so many people who are actually passionate about writing and are willing to stick with it even during the hard times. Because the reality is, a free lancer has to be prepared that there will be times where there is a lot of work and times that there is almost none. A free lancer needs to be prepared for a month with lots of pay chegues rolling in and a month where the income is close to zero. Of course, a free lancer has to be willing to do lots of work which include not just writing, but also trying to find or get clients. Luckily, there is a lot of websites that have writing work that you can bid for. When that fails, a writer can go out looking for clients the 'old fashioned way'. Of course, all this is hard when you are just starting out, since you don't have a portfolio to win over your prospective client. Luckily, there is now sites like Constant Content where one can submit their work for publishers and web sites to buy (though of course, you are competing with many other writers who also submit this work). Yes, it sounds like it is hard but if one really wants this career, there are avenues you can take to achieve it.
It takes lots work and patience. It definitely isn't a job for those who dream of coasting and taking it easy. It is also a job that gets me very exicted and passionate. Luckily, I have a wife who is supporting me and encouraging me to take this road. So yes, I want to be novelist but I don't think that is going to happen immediately (though, I do plan to begin working on a novel now), but I do feel I can start getting work out there. I believe I can be a writer now, it just might not be the type of work one associates with 'writing'. I also don't assume I will be working as a full time writer in the next few years. I will continue to keep you all informed on how this journey goes, and let you all read about the high and lows of my pursuit of becoming a successful free lance writer.
And of course, I'll continue to post random photos of my pets when I have nothing else to write about.