What is the “secret” to making it as a writer?
The sooper-dooper highly classified secret?
There is no secret. That’s the secret.
All the knowledge is out there. Write, edit, release, repeat. There is no gaming the system, just a lot of hard work. A LOT of it. Writing the book?
That’s the EASY part. Seriously.
Kristine Kathryn Rusch has a great blog post on “getting by” kinds of employees/authors. You really should read it.
People ask me how I can write the way I do. Well, for starters, I have to, or I can’t pay my bills. This is my day job. I’m also lucky enough that the county school system gave me typing instead of band in 7th grade, turning me into a very fast touch typist.
I can’t nurse excuses. I can’t. I have to work. I have to get shit done. I have to meet my publisher’s deadlines. (My self-pubbed deadlines can be looser and worked around my publisher’s deadlines, fortunately, but I do eventually get there.) If I don’t work, I don’t get paid, and my mortgage company generally frowns upon that.
No, I’m not an A-lister, Big-5-published author. But I’m struggling to make a living wage, which is better than a lot of Big-5-published authors can say. It’s a lot better than a lot of self-published authors can say.
Is it easy? NO. It’s not. Do I wish I could have a guaranteed paycheck every week at a “normal” job? Uh, duh, yeah. It would take a lot of stress off me in some ways.
If you want to do this full-time, yes, it’s possible. But don’t expect a lightning strike. It’s not out there. Expect to have to work hard, work your ass off, and keep writing, book after book, to keep your head above water (or get your head above water).
Expect to spend a lot of blood, sweat, and tears, and even then, that’s no guarantee of success.
But don’t give up.