Join Associated Content

Friday, July 29, 2011


The Theme of This Week is...

It’s a Theme

The theme being “I need to re-invent myself, this isn’t working”.

A good friend who is quite a great writer in New York and I were commiserating about the fact that this business we’re in is not doing well. Actually, what we were saying was-we aren’t making a living, decent or otherwise, and we’ve got to find a way to re-invent ourselves.

At this point, we can see that if we had to support ourselves on our measly earnings, we’d be one of those REAL people on the corners of strip malls holding a sign reading “Please donate, I’m a victim of the social media and today’s publishing world”. We wouldn’t be one of the FAKE people who are on those corners that actually have a full time job who are begging on their days off.

In case you’re wondering, I have seen two people that work in local retail stores as managers doing this little ploy. I even pointed one out to my husband as we were driving by Wal-Mart’s corner last week. “Hey honey, isn’t that the manager of the Target up the street? I know he’s not rolling in it, but really-does he need to ask for donations on his day off?”

Our daughter sent me a job in her new home state of Arizona. It was actually a good job, they encouraged free-lancers, so I went to the link and for once, this newspaper wanted an actual packet sent to them, not an e-mail!

I was so stunned at that line “no e-mails will be accepted” that it took a few minutes for me to move. I don’t remember the last time I saw something even coming close to that. I printed it all up: the resume, the job referral sheet, I included links in the cover letter and copies of 3 different clippings.

Guess what? I didn’t even get a phone call or e-mail telling me “no thanks”! So not only did I not get any assignments, I’m also out for the paper, the ink, the manila envelope and the $1 on postage! Lesson learned in today’s social media only society.

Anyway, back to my IM chat with my friend. She too sees retirement age coming up (although I’m several years older) and no way to attain the lifestyle with our chosen profession. “I’m thinking I’ve got to come up with a way to re-invent myself. After over 17 years, instead of commanding respect and assured decent payment, I’m seeing less and getting burned out.”

I’m nowhere near that in years, but I do feel myself being a bit frazzled as to how I can come up with a new way to write the same old, same old.

Don’t get me wrong-as soon as I’m interviewing someone interesting or writing up a story, I’m happy as anyone can be, but when I send out my invoicing, I can’t help but think-“I wrote until my hands resembled the Wicked Witch from the West for just this?”

In case you’re wondering-it wasn’t just the two of us. Another friend took a job as a senior writer for a very large real estate broker-she’s writing newsletters, mass e-mails, press releases, training sessions, anything that comes under the heading of “writing” per the company. She’s happy though and says this is an excellent fit for her.

We both talked about a certain company that we had been doing some supplement writing for-they were flaky, slightly weird and we weren’t sure they had their customers best interest at heart, but they eventually paid us well-and we were both happy to do whatever we could because that money was in a sum that neither one of us could afford not to have. Yet, we can’t help but wonder how we felt about ourselves for taking the work.

So the theme really is-what else are we old-fashioned writers good for and where shall we go to find it?

Very interesting and relevant blog, since when I retire I would like to write and perhaps make a little money doing it. Not sure how yet, and your words aren't too encouraging.

I'm discouraged too at the demise of Borders, a large chain bookstore based in Ann Arbor. Locally, they say it's bad for writers if customers can't discover new authors by browsing the book stands. Everything's on-line now.

I do have a blogging buddy who seems to have become a fairly successful author, though I know she's invested lots of time and money into her avocation (travel, seminars, website support etc.). I wonder . . .
When I started writing fiction about 9 years ago now (sheesh, where did the time go?), I was thinking that if it took awhile to break out, maybe it would be a little something by the time I retired - still quite a few years away yet. Let's hope it ramps up by then. In the meantime, my day job as a tech writer is what pays...

But you know who is raking in the dough, fiction-wise? Erotica writers. One woman said she plans to quit her day job and start her retirement because it's so lucractive.

Sorry, but something isn't quite right in our world when the writers who make the money are writing erotica. :)
Dave, I too was sorry about Borders. Like kathy below, I prefer B&N or the little re-sale stores that are run by booklovers like us, but-it's sad to see yet another real-life store has died due to the internet. Nothing like holding and feeling a real newspaper or book/mag in your hand.
Kathy, I too thought-it will take a while to get a following and make contacts and once done I'd be ok. Now I think, how could I have been so naive?
I know the feeling - so naive, so delusional - lol!

When I set out to write, I had no idea the rest of the universe had the same idea. Something's gotta give - it seems that people are writing their own books instead of reading others - that is not a good business model. :)
a bit snarky, but I've had people tell me that I gave them courage to become a writer. really? what part of my life did that for you? i have a degree, was on air talent, produced a PA program and it still took me forever to get someone to even give me any notice after my "hiatus"-so why do you think w/o any experience or writing education you will magically become self-supporting?
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?