The many chances of a writing career

Lynsey May in her flat Writing might not seem like the most forgiving of careers at first glance but the more I learn, but more fortunate I think we are to be enchanted by words and stories.

Of course, it won’t always feel that way. As with all other forms of art, those making it are typically also struggling to make a living and times are often tough. It’s easy to think we’ve got it hard.

A novel that is too similar to others on the list, one that deals with a topic now considered passé, one that’s a little too quiet in a summer of blockbusters – there’s often little in the way of forgiveness for these.

Weak stories are torn apart by reviewers and critics, or worse, ignored and a bad night at a spoken word mic can feel like it’s own special punishment. There’s no room for those searching for an easy ride and yet writers are especially lucky when it comes to trying to make a career because they have so many chances at making it big.

What if you wanted to be a footballer? A gymnast? What if you didn’t realise where your passions lay until it was already too late? There’s no such thing as too late for a writer. True, you may find there are more obstacles in your path as life goes on, but the words will always be there, waiting for you.

There’s room in a writing career for doubt. You’re allowed to stray from the point or have a crisis of faith. It might be difficult if you’re contracted for a second novel when the doubt hits or you might miss a particular market sweet spot, but guess what? Once you’ve regrouped, no one will be able to stop you from trying again.

Imagine being a ballet dancer and knowing that a two year hiatus could easily signal the end of your career. Two years is barely a blip on the screen for the seasoned writer. Take the lows, love the highs and remember you’re lucky to have found a passion that will let you try and try and try again until you get it right.

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4 responses to “The many chances of a writing career

  1. This is a finely balanced and well crafted observation on the pleasures and woes of writing. Beautifully written too. I especially love the line “the words will always be there, waiting for you”. Inspiring, lyrical and poetic. Ta. Pete.

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  2. Hi. Another wee point worth making here is aside from the perseverance and sacrifice required to be a writer is the necessity to be any good at it. I dabble but have nothing of your and others talent or endurance for it. Anyone can and should pick up a pen or paint brush to create for leisure but I for one would never delude myself that writing or any art form comes easily. Ultimately writing fiction well is a rare and elusive gift; rightly so. Lynsey, you clearly have this as demonstrated in such works as It starts so sweetly, and on the strength of this I look forward to your novel. For us non-writers I’ll happily resign myself to the pleasures and adventures of being a reader. Ta. Pete.

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    • I just realised I didn’t reply to your earlier comment, Pete, I absolutely thought I had! Sorry for that and thanks so much for your lovely words. Ultimately, I count myself as lucky to have all of the adventures and pleasures of being a reader first and foremost and I certainly love the chance to also share my own stories. I’d be lying if I said it came easily, though! Endurance is the right word, but it’s worth it when people like you say they find something in it.

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  3. Another wee thought on this. I was listening to an interview with Derek Jacobi recently. He was asked what advice he would give to a young person asking that if I want to be an actor so what should I do. He immediately responded that someone saying they want to act should forget it. If they stated that they needed to act then they must do so. Do you see any parallels with you and others dedication to write for a living? Given the commitments and sacrifices involved it must take more than desire to write but be more of a vocation and almost equating to an intolerance to do anything else. Whatever the reasons I’m glad you persevere and look forward to your novel’s completion and publication. Ta. Pete.

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