It is said that if you do what you love for a living, you’ll never work a day in your life. Taking into account the possibility that this is because that field is not hiring, it is pretty easy to get the gist of the idea.
I’ve been eking out a living as a writer and documentarian here in St. George since 2011. Having spent most of my life working in more blue-collar environments, it has been a transition, to say the least. And it has just been in the last year that some hard work has begun to pay off in the form of viable and profitable work.
But I will tell you that while I sincerely enjoy my work, the notion that it is not work because I enjoy it simply has not been my experience. Writing for me is likened to life, whereby ambiguous victories and vague defeats are the constant and the moments of clear peace of mind are few and far between. Sometimes, I truly do stare at the blank screen until my forehead bleeds.
All of this is to say that if you are a writer who is working to get your work published, I feel you.
Mind if I offer a morsel of wisdom?
You are never going to get published unless you actually write and submit something. In fact, the odds are that you will have to repeat this process to the point of absurdity before you will likely be read by anyone, let alone published. Nevertheless, the one who desires to be a writer but does not write does not really have the desire and should quit kidding him or herself.
And along this line, the most valuable bit of knowledge I can offer is simply this: Do not underestimate the market value of exposure. It is the younger, more inexperienced writers I think who need to hear this.
They come out of school with a degree in this or that and think somehow that this equates to a market value yet to be established. Publications that are willing to pay for contributions, let alone hire full-time, are dropping like flies. You must create your own worth by doing guess what? Creating and contributing valuable content, and a lot of it.
In today’s political and sociological climate, it is more important than ever for there to be a healthy and abundant corps of journalistic writers who engage in the process of holding our society to account. Journalism has never been a job known for its good pay, and in fact, today it is one of the lowest-paying professions in the country.
But it is one of the most-needed professions.
I have this idea, however, that if it paid what it perhaps is worth, it would draw the wrong sorts of people to the job.
Much like teachers, cops, and firefighters, writers are core to our institution but need to be doing their jobs first and foremost for the love of the work and the sense of duty that comes with it.
Balancing this with the need to put food on the table is a conundrum I know all too well, but I nevertheless stubbornly persist. And I unashamedly invite you to do the same by contributing here at the Indy.
See you out there.