The majority of writers in the U.S. today cannot make a living from their writing income alone. Despite headlines of a small number of writers making millions of dollars from their novels — writers not making millions do not make headlines, of course — writing tends to fall into a part-time job category, with most writers finding day jobs to pay the bills. This is the harsh reality. If you are a young writer reading this, I would say to you, develop another interest you love and in which you can find a job and work to earn your living. Maybe, maybe, someday, you’ll earn enough from your writing to support yourself, but don’t count on it.
For most of my adult life (and even when in high school and college), I’ve worked at jobs that were interesting to me but definitely not my passion in life. I tried to find jobs in areas of interest but I wasn’t always successful. I have also worked as a freelance writer and editor in the past so that I could spend more time on my writing. I have worked as a temp before the job and the agencies who placed me changed to “contract workers” and recruitment agencies. Temping gave me the freedom I wanted, the control I wanted over my work life, and the money I needed to pay the bills.
In 2008, I began gearing up for a major job search. I’d been living off of savings and a small inheritance for the previous 8 years and it was time to replenish the coffers. I took courses for medical coding, believing what I was told that I would be able to get a good job easily. Ha. In 2009, after completing the courses, I began the job search. That search stretched into 2010, 2011…and I changed my focus back to contract work as an administrative assistant — what I did as a temp. I finally landed interviews, one job, and then nothing. Meanwhile my savings was dwindling. When there’s far more money going out than coming in, life can be very expensive, indeed, and I do not spend on non-necessities.
The job search continued through most of 2013, and then I decided that in the current workplace, I would not be able to find a job. Why? Well, because I had decided in 2000 to work on my writing “business” for several years, and indeed, I was working on it in a very big way, HR people and hiring managers saw only a “hole” in my resume. I had not been working in an office for someone else. They did not comprehend the work involved with self-employment and didn’t believe me when I talked about the experience and skills I could bring to the job. The other reason, that no one would ever say out loud, was that I was over 50 and there is definitely discrimination against older folks out there. I think it’s stupid, actually. We bring a wealth of experience and maturity to jobs, but hiring managers seem to believe that’s a bad thing because they believe they must pay more for it. So they hire much younger workers they need to train and who inevitably move on in 1 or 2 years. Some companies are discovering just how much they lose with younger workers have don’t have the work ethic older workers have.
So, a year ago I decided to publish my novel myself. Now that it’s out there and selling, I still need to find a way to earn the money to pay the bills (and pay off the debt I’ve been accumulating to publish the novel). So, I am returning to freelance editing and typing. I did this work years ago for a couple years before I turned to temping. During the intervening years, I’ve gained valuable experience and learned a great deal about editing and freelancing. So, I’m open for business!
I am currently working on a website for my business, Yager Editing Services, and have a webpage at Publishers Marketplace. With the internet, I can serve clients from all over the country as well as in my own locale. My focus will be on text documents: novels, short stories, essays, nonfiction, screenplays. I will also offer manuscript typing. Types of editing include developmental, content, copy-editing, line editing and proofreading. I’m looking for serious writers and writing, of course, and graduate students. Once the website is finished, I’ll announce that here.
So, please help a fellow writer! Check out my freelance editing business and contact me if you have an editing job…..