How To Become a Full-Time Writer

I realised as I was put this article together that I’ve been letting my ego stand in the way of my success. Sure, I’d rather only sell books that I’ve carefully and lovingly crafted as a true expression of my talent and imagination, but I’d also rather work full-time as a writer than having to fit writing in around working for someone else. At least I’d be writing full-time, and perhaps generating enough of a surplus income to build Creative Writers Press into a real business.
I’m going to start with ‘The Haunted Story’. It’s not doing me any good while it sits waiting for me to rewrite it as a paranormal crime novel. I may as well see if I can generate a little cash from it.

Creative Writers' Blog

I know there are several people in Creative Writers that (like myself) want to make a full-time career as a writer. Today I had a conversation with an author, Candace Ayers, who had posted on Facebook, “I make six figures a year from royalties. It supports my family very comfortably. I don’t love writing. It’s not my passion. But, I like it okay and love the lifestyle it provides me.”

This made me curious. I wanted to know how she’d managed to build a six-figure income from writing. I asked her if she had an article on the subject (I didn’t want to tread on her toes) and got this amazing response:

“I haven’t written an article about it, but I can share a few of what I consider important tips on the way I do it.

1. I write to market. In other words, I don’t write what I…

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Playing Catch-up!

It’s been a while since I’ve had the time, inspiration or motivation to update this blog, but I’m in the process of making the necessary corrections to my schedule and priorities so that I can get back on track.

I’ve already made some significant changes that have helped a lot. Including changing my ‘day-job’ to a ‘night-job’! With the release date of the Monolith anthology looming ever closer I knew I needed to save my money up. So far every attempt to crowdfund the Monolith project has failed, so it’s down to me earning as much as I can.

However, the hotel I was working at offered only the minimum wage. I applied for a supervisor position, which I didn’t get, and moved up to full time while I looked around for better opportunities. It’s early days yet, but I seem to have found one. It’s a night-porter position at a different hotel It’s only a 10-minute walk from my house, it’s more money, and the workload is light enough that I can get some of my writing done in my downtime.

If all goes well I’ll have enough to afford a high-quality edit of the final manuscript, and have enough time to complete it. I highly doubt that I’ll also have the money or time to pursue other goals (there’s a girl in Italy that I would dearly love to meet in person), so that will have to come later, and hope that she doesn’t meet someone else (though that would solve the dilemma rather neatly).

Space_station

I’ve also been planning out the ongoing adventures of Hermes925.  *Spoilers* The Pan AI has taken over the ship and thinks he can do a better job. He will attempt to replace the ratkin on board with genetically engineered lifeforms. The ‘infected’ ratkin were his creation. An attempt to kill off the existing population so that he can harvest the genetic material and build a new species. The ratkin fight back though and survive despite Pan’s efforts.

Does using the word ‘ratkin’ as both the singular and plural form sound right to you? ‘Ratkins’ doesn’t sound right to me, but maybe it will grow on me.

I also intend to rewrite the story so far to provide a deeper understanding of the civics and politics of the world that Jaime grew up in. Namely that criminal convictions, matters of public interest, and even proposed laws are put to a public vote. Anyone that might be affected or has previously expressed an interest in similar matters is notified of the debate and can submit their response via the N-Viron network. The votes are calculated in real-time.

I also had an idea for the end of Pan’s part of the story. The Nymphs on board the ship are a cutting edge fusion of soft-robotics and genetic engineering, or at least they were. Earth’s technology continues to evolve in Hermes’ and Pan’s absence. Wetware technology becomes the next big thing. The N-Viron network becomes obsolete, replaced with a biotech equivalent that’s completely compatible with the human genome.

The discons have become even more paranoid of the technology. Especially when the new humans are born with technology already integrated into their bodies. Despite the fact that the disconnected humans are convinced that the technology is a threat to humanity, the new humans colonise one of the planet-sized bodies orbiting Jupiter and leave Earth to the discons. When Pan reaches our system, he’s not compatible with the new network of augmented minds.

 

FroudfaeriesAll of this is distracting me from rewriting the story I would like to include in the Monolith anthology. A series of short stories that tell the story of The War On Magic. It’s a story that’s been playing around in my head for a while, and it would be nice to get it out there, but the story I submitted to my fellow admins received enough negative feedback to necessitate a rewrite. You can see the current version here. Please offer any feedback you think might help make you want to read part two.

Once I get the story ready for Monolith, I can get on with polishing up, and adding the finishing touches to, the rest of the anthology. At least I don’t have ‘Write a blog article’ on my to-do list anymore.

Thank you for reading. I’d ask for support for I know that you’re all as broke as I am. Feel free to share and comment on anything you like.

Have a great day 🙂

What do I write about?

I wrote this for the Creative Writers’ Press blog.

Creative Writers' Blog

Lots of people have posted in the group,

“I want to be a writer, but I don’t know how to get started.

There’s been some great feedback in these threads, but it’s a fast-moving group. It doesn’t take long before the last post on the subject is too far down the page to easily find, and someone else asks,

“Hey, I’m new here and I’ve always wanted to write. How do I get started?”

The most obvious, and frequently commented answer is, of course,

“Write”.

While this may seem condescending, obvious, and not particularly helpful, it’s also true. As daunting as it always seems to put pen to paper for the first time before you even have an idea, it really is the best start. Free-writing, which is writing with no agenda (for those that didn’t read Overcoming Obstacles), is a great way to practice writing, get in touch…

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Opportunities for Growth

For those who read the previous blog entry, Unexpected Hope, yes I did bump into that lady again. I gave her another one of my business cards the very next day and I even saw and spoke to her again the day after that. She promises to email me. If you happen to be reading this, I’m still waiting 😉

In other news, the Creative Writers group is going extremely well. We had had a few fires to put out because too many people were joining that didn’t really belong there. I had wondered for a while how I might be able to make sure that everyone understands the ‘spirit of the group’ when I know that only a fraction of the members will ever read the group description or the pinned post, and join based on the name of the group alone.

I don’t remember now which of the other group administrators reminded me that you can set three questions for new members to answer. I’ve seen too many groups misuse this feature. They’ll ask a confusing question such as ‘Do you promise to follow the group rules?’, when the rules are only accessible after you’ve been accepted. I didn’t want to make this same mistake.

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I had posted a rant to the group after I had kicked out the trouble-makers to try and make sure we didn’t have similar trouble again:

“Creative Writers is a community of writers, wordsmiths and storytellers. We know the power of words. Some words can cause discomfort, and some writers are skilled at deploying these words for maximum effect.
If you plan to drop a verbal bomb in the group, please include a trigger warning out of respect for your fellow writers.

“If you happen to see a word or phrase that offends you, please remember we’re writers. We use words to illicit an emotional response. By all means, correct their grammar and punctuation, but demanding censorship goes against the spirit of the group.

“Having said that this is not the place to discuss religion or politics. You can submit any piece of writing for critique but bear in mind that we deal mainly in fiction and your opinion may be analysed as such.

“We are here to become better writers. To help each other, support one another and learn from each other. Competitiveness and attention seeking behaviours disrupt the spirit of the group and will not be tolerated.”

I boiled this rant down to the following three questions (I copied this from a membership request, so it also includes the answers I’m looking for):

  • Do you understand that this is a place for fiction, and not religion or politics?

    Yes 🙂

  • If you post anything that could be deemed offensive, are you willing to include a trigger warning?

    Yes.

  • Are you looking for a supportive group of fellow writers, willing to help others grow and develop your own craft?

    Yes!

As long as the member answers ‘Yes’ (or some synonym of it) for all three questions, they’re in. If they only answer one or two of the questions, or they reply ‘no’ (or some equivalent response), they are declined. People who still haven’t even answered the questions are declined after a six-hour window of opportunity.  Despite this hurdle, membership continues to increase at a rapid pace.

It seems like we’ve regained the ‘spirit of the group’ I had established when I took over. Finding a way to quit the day job and do this full-time isn’t so pressing anymore. We’re still creating a Kickstarter page, but the focus has been switched from payroll to our product. Which is only right. We’re asking for £3,000 to cover production and marketing of the Monolith Anthology.

 

Plant Cover with Biondi font
We’ve gone back to this cover

 

My original plan, after all, had been to produce Monolith for as cheaply as possible so that all the writers and other contributors can get a fair share of the profit. If I could do it without putting any money in, I would, but my team tell me that this is just as unrealistic as hoping to raise enough cash to pay each administrator $5,000 per month for 6 months! They make a good point.

With all the time effort and passion I’m putting into the Monolith project, including the Creative Writers group and Creative Writers’ Press, I worry that Laura, my girlfriend, is getting neglected. To that end, I’ve been asking her what she’s really like to do with her life. She said she’d like to travel more. At first, this answer made my heart sink when I realised that it would be a long time before I could afford to buy flights and hotels all over the world. Then I watched this video:

I often watch TED videos while I’m working on Monolith, to keep me motivated. This video helped me to realise that travelling the world doesn’t need to mean expensive hotels and flights to every destination. You can travel on a shoestring if you don’t mind roughing it a little, and I have a tribe of over 7,700 Creative Writers to ask for help.

We’ve already had members offer Laura and I a place to stay in Holland, Iceland, Pakistan, Canada, South Africa and several states in America. I don’t have a lot coming in from Patreon subscriptions, but it would be enough to keep my phone data active, and as long as I have power and internet access, I can write anywhere. If it gets too hard I know my family would welcome me back.

We’re not running off immediately (much as I’d like too) we’re currently aiming to start our adventure next year after Monolith has launched, which will hopefully provide an additional trickle of income. In the meantime, we’re going to save up and do our research so we can do this as safely as we can. It will still be risky, but it’ll be a great adventure, an amazing experience, and I’ll have some great stories to tell. I may even end up with my own TED talk!

 

 

 

 

 

Overcoming Obstacles

An article I wrote for Creative Writers’ Press.

Creative Writers' Blog

All kinds of things can get in the way when you’re trying to write, and I’m going to mention a few. The biggest obstacle for most of us though is writer’s block. It doesn’t seem to matter how many of the other issues we resolve, writer’s block always seems to be lurking around the corner, ready to pounce, right as our fingers are hovering over the keyboard, or our pen is about to touch the page.

All of these issues have been mentioned at least once in the Creative Writers group at least once. The first one I’m going to tackle is self-doubt. It’s doozy, and one that often disguises itself as various excuses. After you push through “I don’t have the time”, “I have to be available for my kids (or some other person-in-need)”, or “I’m always so tired after work” (all of which I will also talk about)…

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‘Monolith’ Will Be Great!

I’ve been working on a new project. Or rather developing one and seeing where it goes. The Creative Writers’ Group on Facebook is about to hit 3000 members, and I’ve built a website to allow the group members to submit short-stories for the ‘Monolith’ anthology. It looks rather spiffy and includes a blog.

This is actually my second blog post where I enthuse about the success that ‘Monolith’ is going to be. I feel like I’m going to actually apply my Business and Management college education, plus all the self education in Marketing, Entrepeneurship and Small Business to a project I genuinely care passionately about, and I feel really good about it.

The Unexpected Depth of a Facebook Quiz

This article I wrote for Games and Geekery might have fit better here.

Games and Geekery

Despite being so busy with my other projects that I’ve not posted on Games and Geekery in a while, I still find myself distracted by the world’s greatest procrastination tool, Facebook. Don’t get me wrong, Facebook is also a great tool for networking, marketing and crowdsourcing ideas. Those quizzes though are usually a time-suck of the worst kind, offering no real substance except to massage your ego.

This one surprised me. “Who Are You In The Different Worlds?” gave me this result:

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I was about to just close the window and make myself go back to writing Hermes925 when I realised that these three characters may not just be arbitrary choices. All of them are tragic heroes. They’re all orphans, a long way from their own people, and they don’t really fit it in.

Tarzan lost his parents when he was still a baby, their plane crashing in the jungle, he alone…

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