Wednesday, 3 December 2014

IWSG Anthology - Out Now!

Yes, it's a great day for the IWSG as its very own "Guide to Publishing and Beyond" is out now, completely gratis! I was very proud to contribute to this tome which is chock full of advice on anything and everything to do with writing, publishing and marketing. Having read some of the posts from the bloghop I can vouch that this is a fantastic resource for anyone at any stage of the game, from the members of the IWSG who have been through the battles. I look forward to reading the rest of the entries I missed. Get it at AmazonBarnes & NobleKobo and Smashwords.

So onto my post for this month. Well my insecurity is something that I imagine a fair few writers have some trouble grappling with - money. Now, I know that very few writers go into the game hoping they will clean up - if they do, they're either doing it for the wrong reasons or they're suffering under an illusion. I accept that I'm never going to make megabucks from my writing. My insecurity stems from how this relates to everyday life. We have three kids, Christmas is nipping at our heels, and I can't help sometimes feeling guilty for not contributing enough. I've got my paper round, I'm continuing with my freelance writing and editing which, by nature, ebbs and flows. I never earn more than £250 in a week. I feel I'm doing what I can as the stay-at-home parent, but then my wife's working-at-home business has taken off in a big way and is almost earning as much as her day job.

I don't know, I've never been very savvy with money and don't feel like I've got the right sort of brain for it. It was always a bone of contention that the short stories I had published were unpaid. For me, the achievement was getting the publishing credits and the satisfaction that someone had deemed my words worthy of putting into print. I recently submitted a story to an ezine after a friend had success with the venue. It was rejected, but it was that Holy Grail of rejections, containing personal feedback! That was very exciting, and made me feel like I was halfway towards being paid for a piece of fiction for the very first time. Still, though, the payment was three dollars. Not a big difference to our bank balance, but money all the same.

I'm now looking at setting a goal of writing and submitting one short story a month with payment, but instead of this and the freelance stuff, should I be pursuing some sort of other work that offers a more regular income? I really don't know what else I'd do that would fit around my home responsibilities. I'm good at writing and I don't get any complaints.

Sorry for rambling on here. I guess my question is, if you write for no or very little money and spend a lot of time on it, do you feel guilty about that? How do you deal with it?

Be sure to visit the other IWSG bloggers here!

31 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Nick, if your wife is all right with it, why not? You need to talk to my blogger buddy Steven Symes. He's a full time writer doing all sorts of writing related jobs to pay the bills. Or Milo James Fowler, who has made a career out of short stories and now has novels as well.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Every family is different in how they handle this sort of thing. if you and your wife are good with it, then that's what's important. And congrats on the personal feedback! :)

Sarah Foster said...

You just have to do whatever works best for you and your family. I think your goal for submitting things is great. I'm trying to create some similar goals for myself.

Jennifer said...

As long as everyone is happy, the bills are paid, and the kids are taken care of I don't think money should be a problem. But I get what you're saying. It's nice for someone to accept your writing for free, it's great when they actually pay money for it. Even if it's a few bucks, it feels like a greater accomplishment.

dolorah said...

Its tough being the stay at home parent. It may feel like you are not earning money; but perhaps for your own sanity you should turn the glass over and think of all the money you are SAVING by not paying child care, a second car, transportation, separate work clothes, lunches with the co-workers, the stress of what to do with the kids when they are sick or hurt or school vacations. I'm sure your money skills can add up all you contribute to the household.

And believe me, there is really no such thing as enough money. I was also going to suggest connecting with Milo at Write 1 Sub 1 to help you with the goals of one submission a month. You got skills dude, now you just need faith in yourself. Remember, even Stephen King had dry periods as an author, and it took him a very long time to get that one break that was the first step toward his current fame.

You have all the support and encouragement of the IWSG, and more importantly, that of your family. I know it is hard to smile now, it is a tough gig to work at being a writer, but keep your chin up, your fingers nimble, and count your savings because you do what you do now.

Cynthia said...

For me, the intrinsic rewards that come with writing override my concerns about what the payoff would be.

I do think that once a writer is confident with their skills and abilities, that they should begin asking for pay when offered certain opportunities for publication.

Maybe these two statements sound contradictory, but I stand by both sentiments.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Nick .. you've got some good advice here ... I know Patsy is always putting up links for stories, and certainly Milo does well with his stories.

But you're looking after the home fires and are helping out with your wife's home business ... you're doing a good share. Opportunities will come along - but keep writing, keep creating .. and very good luck .. cheers Hilary

JeffO said...

First, congrats to you and everyone in the IWSG on the anthology! That's a nice accomplishment.

Now, the tricky question: "instead of this and the freelance stuff, should I be pursuing some sort of other work that offers a more regular income?" We can't really answer that one. You and your wife need to take a look at your income and your expenses and see how they meet up. Ideally, you want to have enough left over each month to put money away for the proverbial nest egg. If you can do that with you as stay-at-home Dad who writes, then I don't think there's any reason to feel guilty. As someone who has been in that position I can also tell you that the mental well-being in myself and my kids is quite valuable in itself.

Shell Flower said...

Sounds like your stay-at-home dad job is probably the reason your wife is able to make money so successfully. I know that for a long time my partner was the stay-at-home parent while I paid the bills almost entirely, but I always knew that I couldn't have done it without him. I've never made a penny writing unless you count the $50 I won in a short story contest in 8th grade, but that doesn't stop me from spending all my free time writing. It's better than wasting time on video games. LOL. Anyway, as long as you aren't truly broke, you should just keep writing. Also, parenting is truly important and valuable.

Stephen Tremp said...

I used to make supplemental income at my books. Need to kick things up a notch with my next release. But I would do it anyway just because I could not stand myself if I never at least tried.

Christine Rains said...

I don't know what else to add as everyone has given you such good advice. I understand the guilt and frustration. Being a writer is no easy thing. Hope you have a good weekend! :)

Chrys Fey said...

I always felt guilty for not bringing in more money as the stay-at-home writer. It's tough. I agree with Jennifer that as long as bills are paid, you have food, shelter, and everyone is happy that everything is truly fine.

Lara Lacombe said...

Personally, it sounds like you're doing really well! I think it's all a matter of perspective. If your family is cared for and your wife is happy with the arrangement, no need to beat yourself up! :)

Michelle Wallace said...

All the comments seem to have covered it.
As long as you and your partner are happy with the arrangements... that's very important.
You should sit down and work out your contribution as a stay-at-home-dad...lots of savings there!
Congrats on the personal feedback!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Nick, that's why I'm a professional speaker and I format books in addition to writing. They are still connected, but bring in more money than the writing. It depends on if you want to focus or diversify at this point.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Yes, I feel guilty about it, and yes, it's for very little money. I teach classes at our local homeschool co-operative - but the key word is co-operative - I get paid just a little to ease the strain of grading papers . . .and I use that money to pay for homeschool supplies and other homeschool parent-experts (a biochemist teaches my oldest chemistry) for my girls so it kind of just goes around in the same system.

I deal with it by continuing to move forward with all of my ideas, and I thank my husband all the time. I know I may eventually have to get out there and find something more lucrative (like in two years when my oldest heads towards university).

Lynda R Young said...

I occasionally feel guilty for not bringing in much money, but then I love what I do and I don't do it for the money. I also have the wonderful support and encouragement from my hubby. That helps a lot.

Heather Holden said...

It's natural to feel insecure about money, I think. (I know I certainly do!) While coming up with ideas to earn more wouldn't hurt, as long as the current situation is happy and stable for all, it doesn't seem like something you need to worry about...

cleemckenzie said...

Got mine! And will see that my writerly friends have copies, too! Happy Holidays, Nick.

Hart Johnson said...

Money is such a hard reality for most of us. You know, Margaret Atwood suggests inheriting money if you want to be a writer. I keep wondering how exactly somebody goes about that, but until it happens, I will have to have a day job, and as long as I have a day job, writing only really gets to be about a 2 hour a day gig. I could make more money if I had more time, but to have more time I'd have to make more money... *sigh*

M Pax said...

I hear you on the money thing. If you get to the point where writing contributes, that's a fantastic thing. I feel like less of a slug now, but I wish it was more. I keep working toward it. I started writing shorts for $$ too. I see what they're asking for and write for what the paying markets are looking for. I've only done two so far, but want to do more.

M. J. Joachim said...

Hi Nick, I never feel guilty about writing, unless I'm letting it take away from too many of my other responsibilities -then I feel guilty about losing my balance and tripping myself up. There are lots of careers where people don't make a lot of money, and they do it because it's the right thing to do. If it were only about the money, think of how many fewer writers, artists and creative souls would be there plugging away and inspiring us with their work. That would be a sad thing indeed.

Sherry Ellis said...

If you're happy just seeing your work in print, and your family isn't hassling you about the money side, I think it's fine to write for free. I think you should still try for paying jobs, though, because it is nice to get some money for all your work!

Cherie Reich said...

I completely get this. You want to make money at it. You want some reward--so to speak--for the time spent, so it's hard to spend hours on something and get paid little to nothing for it. I used to be happier about getting a publication credit than money, but it's not quite the case anymore. Money means I can keep publishing. No money, no more publishing. Sometimes you have to limit what you're willing to submit for no pay. Maybe do a few a year and focus more on places that pay, whether it be a token to more. Every little bit helps.

Tammy Theriault said...

I love your rambling! I had an agent that I interviewed say she loved when people had a job other than writing so that they had something to rely on if it didn't pan out. ducks in a row.

SA Larsenッ said...

I'll admit. I didn't know the book was out until last week. It's amazing. I'm thrilled to be a part of it. So much insight, wonderful advice, and experiences.

Aw...I (as I'm sure many others) can relate to the 'money' issue with writing. I feel as you do - the short stories were an accomplishment but would have been better if I'd been paid. Not really, but that's my mindset at times. It's hard to break that. For me, I just have to keep finding the reason why I write and how much I love it. The rest will come.

Southpaw HR Sinclair said...

I get it, and it's tough. Being a stay-a-home parent is a big job and a huge responsibility. - And yet you are still bringing something home, that's pretty good. I understand that even if your wife is okay with the arrangement, it's still tough.

J.L. Campbell said...

It's natural to worry about things like this, Nick. As long as your family is happy and you are making ends meet, then I think that's half the battle won.

Ella said...

I too feel this way, Nick! I contribute when I can, but it isn't the amount I want~ Keep going and I do believe there are other avenues you can try! Stay at home is never easy and in reality we would get paid a lot for what we bring to the table~ I do think you will get there! I saw some people selling poems on ETSY and I was stunned-maybe you could offer freelance work over there?!

I hope your holidays are happy and bright!
You are so talented-just keep tossing your work out there!

Sherry Ellis said...

I've been reading that book. It's full of lots of great tips.

Have a very Happy New Year. All the best in 2015!

Michelle Wallace said...

Happy New Year to you and your family, Nick!