How Do Writers Survive?

I read an article online, about how a writer says she is ‘sponsored’ by her husband, in that her writing doesn’t make her enough to live on, but her husband’s job pays well enough that it doesn’t matter.

She says in the article that writers need to be more honest about how they actually earn a living, if for no other reason than to make budding writers aware that it won’t be a smooth ride to say the least. She had been to events where the author would talk of all their hard work and effort, which has made them successful, but in reality they came from wealthy families, had high-earning husbands or had a lot of amazing connections that ensured their success.

I had a conversation with a friend a while back, who believed that women writers could only be successful if they had wealthy husbands. I must admit, I resisted the idea, not wanting to believe that the only way I could be a successful author was to find some rich schmuk to marry me.

But in the spirit of being honest – there’s a possibility she may well be right. When I am focused on writing (and editing and publishing) my own books, holding down a normal job that pays the bills is all but impossible for me. Because when I have a normal job, I put 120% of effort into it, and have nothing else left, so being creative is quite difficult. So in the last few years, during the jobless periods of time, I have relied on credit cards. So yes, like many other people in the UK, I have credit card debt. Not because I bought designer goods, the latest gadgets or dined out every night, but because I needed to pay rent and for food and car insurance somehow.

Magically, every month, I have made enough money to pay for my basic bills, and eat and have shelter. A lot of this is down to the generosity of friends, family and my flame. And the rest of it is down to my business, The Amethyst Angel, where I help other Indie authors to publish their work.

My living expenses are not paid for by my royalties. Not even close.

But I don’t believe that I will be in this situation forever. Despite the apparent evidence, and my friend’s belief, I do believe that Indie authors can make a living from their writing, and I do believe that I can succeed without needing a wealthy husband. If anything, these tough financial times have taught me what and who is really important in my life. It’s taught me about what I actually need to live a happy life, and what is completely unnecessary. I have come to be truly grateful for the small things, and have gathered a massive amount of material for future books!

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So I’ve made up my mind. Making a living as a writer is not easy, and many writers may be supported by their loved ones, but I refuse to believe that it is impossible to be a successful writer off your own back, making a good living. Because there are many authors who have done just that.

In the meantime, being honest about how we authors survive can only be a good thing.

I think.

To read the article that inspired this post, click here.

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