There’s an interesting and illuminating article in today’s New York Times about one writer’s successful struggle to land a variety of high profile gigs. Key to his story is how many writing assignments he did not get.
In this blog, I try hard to be positive and I don’t bemoan my failures. But I could tell you story after story of articles and books I wanted to write but was never able to because no one was interested. Or, perhaps, because I didn’t know how to market myself better. You’ll never know, by the way, if your query letter stunk, or the magazine editor wasn’t looking for another talking dog story. I am melancholy for all my failures, orphans turned out into the street, homeless.
What’s not revealed in the Times’ article, and this is little discussed, is whether this semi-successful writer makes his living from writing. I don’t. Writing adds income but its not my total income. Many times I have had to go back to nursery and plant work to get by. And even now, in between pitching books and articles, I am blogging for trial lawyers and writing articles for very little money just to keep income flowing and writing credits current.
But I am still writing, just like most of you who read this blog. We are still writing because we have to. A bird must sing. And tomorrow might bring that acceptance letter and that assignment and that chance to continue this mad and exciting game. Would we want to do anything else?