marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

My Top Ten Tips for the Prospective Writer

This went for both the writing side and the selling side.

Get used to writing horrible stuff.  Not only can't you sit down and write a story just because you can write sentences -- a misapprehension that other arts don't seem to suffer from -- you will keep on having problems as you try to write new things.

Write.  You need to write.  You can manufacture all kinds of excuses.  Sometimes evading writing is not disastrous but it adds up -- one panelist observed that it's always a bad sign when she's actually done the laundry.

Your writing income will be very variable.  Do not get used to it.  Ideally, marry someone who has a steady income and make sure you could live on it if you really needed to.

One panelist had estimated that back in 1970s, five writers were making a middle-class income off SF and fantasy, and one was making a comfortable one.  Another estimated that the absolute numbers have risen -- because the absolute number of writers has risen.  Still probably the same percentage.  A few horror stories about making soup out of free hot water and free ketchup packages.

You have to make your income taxes and stuff payments quarterly.  Consider half your income to be gone as soon as you get it.

And quit your workshop.  After a while, to be sure, and possibly join another -- but quit that one, too.  Or you'll get the same advice over and over.  What you need, if you can get it, is advice from a writer slightly better than you are.  Beta readers can be valuable, but most writers only have one or two.
Tags: boskone, writing, writing groups, writing habits

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