Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Imagine a world without writers...

A few days ago I was told once again, "You need to get a job." My eyes narrowed as I replied, "I do have a job as a published writer and a freelance editor." And then the bomb dropped when that person said in all seriousness, "I mean a REAL job."

If you're a writer and you've ever been told this, I believe you share in that feeling of anger that rushes through your veins like acid. I refused the urge to use my creative storytelling to creatively curse that person.

Imagine a world without writers? No news, because where does the newscaster get their information? Yup, a writer. No newspaper because how do all of those words get on the paper? It starts with a writer. No movies because how does the script form? Yes, a writer. No education because, once again, a writer writes the text books.

But I guess what this person really meant is..."Romance writing isn't a real job." Excuse me...

In North America, romance novels are the most popular genre. And for those who think writing a romance novel is about a writer sitting down at the laptop, dressed in sexy lingerie and dishing out a conflict or two and a mountain of sex scenes...well, they are sadly mistaken. It is a tough world and very few writers become published. A writer sheds a lot of tears, bites their nails to the quick, notices new gray hairs, and grows a tough skin through rejections and criticism before we finally receive that first contract. And I won't even talk about marketing...In today's published world you need a degree in marketing.

Most romance writers balance a "day-job" outside of writing, a family, and whatever other responsibilities that fill their plate while utilizing every possible moment to write. I worked at a child-advocacy center during the day. I'd come home from work, take care of the house and kids, and when everyone was quietly tucked in bed and "mommy" was no longer heard, I'd write. I wrote three novels on paper underneath the blanket by flashlight. It was a long and tedious process.

And do we do this for the fun of it?!? You betcha !!! Why do skydivers dive? Mountain climbers climb? Teachers teach? Nurses nurse? Lawyers law? Doctors doctor? Chefs chef? Dog trainers train? Because this is their calling...and therefore, writers write because it is our passion.

So, the next time you haters decide to bash a writer, be sure to think before you speak. Instead, buy a book.


  1. I've been introduced in this way: "This is Kathryn; her hobby is writing." Ungh. Hobby. Ungh. I always just smile graciously and shake hands or whatever. I don't think it's "hate" - it's just "they don't know/understand" the discipline and sacrifice involved until they try it themselves.

  2. Actually I don't get this, but then I do have a day job. What I have noticed is that my SO's attitude changed when that first publishing contract hit the doormat.
    Suddenly I wasn't "just scribbling". I'd sold a book. The game has changed. He takes it seriously now.
    Before, I used to get a lot of "So do you have anything published?" from people I was introduced to, and I used to answer "Not yet." Now I can say yes, the game changed there, too. "Oh! I'll have to look for it!"
    Tell them it's an ebook, they kinda slump again. (Although the paperback is out now too.)
    The next question is usually: "So are you writing another one?" and I turn around "The next book is coming out in June. Different publisher though."
    Suddenly I'm "Cool to know", because it's obviously not a fluke.
    People are weird...

  3. There are a lot of people out there who have encouraged me, motivated me and been some of my biggest fans from the very beginning. Yes, I agree, it does seem to change once you're contracted because then people view you as serious and not just a pretender. Once in a great while though, I'll come across someone who makes a comment that rubs you the wrong way...and this one did. But fact is, this one person can't spoil the milk for all the great people who understand.

  4. I've never understood that. I have some friends that are published Sci Fi novel authors, and people don't consider it a real job until they get a book turned into a movie. Really? You think its that easy to write? You try it!

    (Of course, you have to be careful. I said that to a classmate once. She came back to me a week later with 10 pages of really really good writing. The last laugh was mine though, as she discovered the addictive nature of writing. )

  5. That's what I say..."Try writing your own book and see how easy it is." The editing alone is enough to knock a writer over.

    That is awesome about the girl who came back with good writing. You motivated her to see her potential. Great :)

  6. Great post! I have to admit though, no one's ever said that to me. My family and husband happily tell people that I'm a romance author. Even before I was published, when I told my husband I was going to write a book and get it published, his reply was, 'Okay.' He's never doubted me. Yup, I think he's the best. :)

    P.S. I might have used my creative storytelling to creatively curse the person. LOL

  7. For anyone who thinks writing isn't a real job, I say let them try it. Just creating a manuscript should win an award. Let alone editing, advertising, and all the knowledge needed to put into the work.

    Cierra James

  8. Very true, Cierra. We have to be self-motivated, disciplined, patient, brilliant, creative...I could continue...

  9. I just kill anyone that says that to me. But I'm not nice like you. I'm not only 'just a writer' i'm even worse, i'm 'just a poet.'

    So, clearly, I'm the devil. :)

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  11. Stephan, you're a very intelligent man with lots of talent. Poetry is an an art...