I’m answering a challenge from Jaipi SixBear, a popular writer here at Associated Content. She wrote this article, outlining some of the things she hated about writing. She encouraged “positive” (does that mean we’re electrically charged?) writers to tackle the dark side of the force. It seems like a good form of therapy so I’m giving it a try.
I consider myself a positive writer so I feel like I fit the qualifications of the challenge. I have a “Writing for Associated Content Blog” (you can click here to view it) and I’m the National Creative Writing Examiner at Examiner.com (click here for that one). In those endeavors, I feel like I’m constantly defending the art of writing even on days when I feel like taking a metaphorical hammer to it. But most importantly, my positive attitude is genuine because I see so many writers giving up on their dreams. I hate to see that so I will strive on to show the great side of writing.
But for today, I will allow that dip into the dark side.
I hate that people think I’m rich and try to take advantage of it
Not only do I blog and write for Associated Content, I also write a local Examiner column (click here for that one) which covers my entire county. I love this work. I have found that it has brought me local attention and I get to do things that I’ve never done before such as helping plan one of the biggest festivals in my area. But with this, people must think I have money to burn. I inquired about an incident a few months ago after an acquaintance witnessed (and got pictures of) a city garbage truck exploding. I guess he thought I was sniffing out a story because he then offered me a picture for what he thought was a reasonable price. Um, no thank you. I’ve found that this is often the reaction I get from local folks. They don’t realize that I probably make less than 1/4 of what they think I do.
I hate that much of my family’s support is warped
While the public feels like I’m rich, most of my family knows I’m far from it. There’s a chain reaction of thought that happens here. Because I’m not rich, what I do doesn’t really matter. Because it doesn’t matter, then I’m free to run whatever errands for them they need (for free of course) and I am available to watch their children (again, for free). After all, how much time and effort does it take to write 15 to 20 articles a week, plus research, fact check, make phone calls to get questions answered, prepare interviews, and more? Oh, and let’s not forget that I’m a mommy of a toddler and a preschooler, too, who has to have a balance of writing time and kid time. No, I suppose I don’t do anything all day. And I’m sure that toilet will clean itself and supper will magically appear on the table via a Star Trek replicator.
It isn’t bad enough that other family members feel this way but that I’m constantly battling this mentality from my own husband. He never reads a word of what I write and I feel like he thinks of it more as a hobby than a career; something to keep me busy and to give me spending money while I raise our children. I don’t think he realizes how many groceries and household things that I buy with my writing money so I don’t think it really clicks for him how valuable to all of us my job is; not to mention that this is a serious career for me.
I’ve heard other writers complain that people think they don’t have “real jobs”. While there are members of my family that do read some of the things I write (kudos to my dad, my biggest fan, for trying to read everything I write), I know from some of their reactions that they don’t think I have a real job (calm down, Sis, I said “some”). Hmmmm, since I don’t have a real job, maybe the IRS will feel the same way and I can skip my tax returns next season.
I hate that I have a split personality
I have one name for my content writing and one for my fiction. Both names are my real names (even though it’s easier to explain that my fiction writing name is a pen name), I just have different uses for each. Why? Because when I started submitting and publishing fiction, I had no idea I was going to write content. And when I started content writing, I had no idea I was going to dig my fiction back up and start working at it ever so vigorously again. As a result, and because of some content writing guidelines and continuity in my “pen” name, I’m stuck with two names. It’s not a terrible thing but it confuses some of my readers.
I hate being a salesperson
This one relates to my fiction. I love the act of writing in itself and the editing and revising isn’t so bad either. What I hate is taking a 60,000 – 110,000 word novel I’ve poured my heart into and condensing it into a 400 word description so some agent or publisher can glance at it and determine FROM THAT whether they want to take me on or not. It’s not exactly a fair fight.
I hate the lack of respect
Content writers have been getting a lot of flak lately. We’ve been told that we’re not REAL writers, that we all publish crap, and that we are allowing others to get rich from our work. Whew. I’m glad I’m not a real writer. I’m glad I’m not really writing this sentence. And I’m glad that this whole article is a piece of crap. I suppose also that the food sitting in my pantry was either free or I stole it from Wal-Mart instead of using my writing money to buy it. Um-kay.
I also get a lack of respect because I do a bit of self publishing with my fiction. While I’ve had things traditionally published, I thought it would be fun to put work that won’t fit into streamlined genre markets through a self published platform. Because of that, I’ve been automatically labeled a crap writer who deserves to have their career plummet. Never mind that I put my stories through extensive editing and rewrites. And never mind that the people who say stuff like that have probably never read anything I’ve written.
Alright, that about wraps up my dark side. Hmmm, that was therapeutic. Thanks, Jaipi!