I’m a writer and I’ve been doing what I love for years, since I can remember. I have journals from when I was six to prove it.
I have never had a problem writing my ideas down, creating my characters and finishing books. It has sometimes taken me years and sometimes, in the case of Friends We Haven’t Met, taken me just the month of November. I have six completed manuscripts as a result, as well as three others so near completion that I’m certain my newly blooming editor/writer relationship will get them there soon enough.
I’ve never waited for the right time to write. To me that would be like waiting for the right time to breath. It’s the one thing I’ve been most driven to do my whole life.
I love it.
But guess what? Doing what I love has never, not once, gotten those manuscripts published. Just writing them is not enough. If I want to see them go anywhere, if any of us want to see our projects come to fruition, there’s a lot more elbow grease involved.
Since March fourth I’ve been pretty much living as a writer. I’m not making any money and the minimal savings I put aside for this time are rapidly depleting. I’m largely only able to do this because I have a supportive wife and family.
I am utterly grateful to the people who love me and the way they express their genuine interest in my happiness. The rent free accommodation with my parents for the month of February was a blessing. The time friends are giving to sharing my writing means more than my gratitude can express. The time here in Australia with my wife, and all her support: emotional, spiritual and financial, are essential to what I’m doing.
I’ve been empowered to take the leap and move something I’ve always done from the side-lines into the spotlight.
Living as a writer, a serious I’m-aiming-to-earn-a-living-from-my-writing sort of writer, is very different from just doing what I love. I’ve been writing blogs, certainly, but most of my days have been full of planning, marketing and, well, a lot of work.
I’ve been networking with people, sending personalised emails, taking time to connect or re-connect and share what I’m working on, why it matters and how people can support it. I’m largely spending my time communicating to a growing audience how necessary their support is. Without readers my books are destined to remain manuscripts on my computer, unedited and unread - I can write all I want but working as a writer involves asking people to value what I have to offer.
None of this is possible if people don’t buy the book. None of it is possible without the freedom and time my current circumstances allow for. None of it is possible if I’m not using my time and energy well because I know these circumstances are not sustainable.
Doing what you love is important but simply doing it doesn’t mean you’ll make a living from it. So don’t just do what you love. If you actually want to make a living from doing what you love, gather up some discipline, ask for help, accept it graciously and use every opportunity to the fullest. Put simply, rather than saying 'Do what you love' we should say, 'Do what you love and then work your butt off to put it out there'.
When not writing, making art or recording podcasts,
Kaitlyn can be found in trees, listening to Dharma talks on her iPod, Boon.
Thusly named because
Brian Froud = Awesome.