Starving Artist

I talked to a writer last night who has published three non-fiction books with lots of photos and who does technical writing on the side. She said she used to write fiction but gave it up when she realized she couldn’t write books and do her freelance writing AND write fiction all at the same time. She said when she reads a great novel she feels like that’s what she should be doing—writing fiction. And yet she would rather have the steady (and much more lucrative) income from freelance technical writing. She doesn’t want to be a starving artist, she said. I know that her partner makes enough to support them both, but I’m glad that she’s happy with her decision. I’m also happy that I AM willing to be a starving artist (in the sense of having very little of my “own” money). I would hate to choose technical writing over my dream/passion just because it provides a steady income. I don’t want to be one of those people who has a mid-life crisis and then quits everything to “write the great American novel.” I’m so happy I chose the route I did even though it’s a continuous struggle to be disciplined, to have faith that I will finish (and publish) my book and more books to come, and to be okay with the fact that even best selling authors rarely earn more than junior engineers. I’d rather be fulfilled than rich, I guess. Although both would be nice.



Filed under Writing

2 responses to “Starving Artist

  1. Between the two of you, you made the best decision. I know financial survival is critical but if you can afford to live with less and do what you love it will eventually pay off. Wishing you the best.

  2. Yup. I think we always have our baggage with us. I wish I had the fortitude to just quit my job and just write. But either I don’t believe in myself like you do, or my fear of financial insecurity outweighs all.

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