Writing is a Job

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I’ve been hectically busy just lately with lots of rotten things that haven’t involved reading or writing a word. Not so much fun, I didn’t like it, and now I’m resolved to boot anyone who tries to get me away from my computer until I’ve finished what I’m working on in the left kneecap. Hard. Very hard, and with malice aforethought.

Zooming through my piles of emails now, I spotted a post where someone said that her entire family see her writing as a hobby, a vanity, and a waste of time. Not cool – hackles up. When you’re a writer, those around you have to be properly taught that what you do is just as important, if not more so in some cases, as what anyone else does. Even if you’re only starting out in your scribbling career, and aren’t earning more than enough to buy your current weekly sustenance of a sack of turnips and bottle of industrial strength absinthe, it should never mean that whatever anyone else thinks or wants you to do should take precedence over your work. Unless others are totally dependent on you for their daily bread, so you have no choice but to take any job to make ends meet, why shouldn’t you be allowed the same time it would take in any other career to get from the carting coffee around point to the executive suite point?

Some non-writers believe that your fledgling career is a waste of time, and that you’d be better off getting a “real” job instead. To be honest, no one has ever been brave enough to suggest this to me, but that’s probably only because even though I’m almost always sweetness and light (heh), I can turn into a proper bum scorching dragon when riled. This suggestion would rile me. Writing is work. Just because you enjoy doing it doesn’t make it any less of a job than doing something you actively hate doing. So if your very first scribble doesn’t propel you to million selling author status, that’s it, time up? Get a real job now – you failed? I don’t understand people who equate a writing career with a life of munching doughnuts and watching TV all day. Or those who feel that it’s mandatory to grow up, get a crappy job that destroys your soul, get old and decrepit, and then move on to whatever awaits you on the other side. I feel really sorry for scribblers who have to put up with such lack of support from their nearest and dearest. Life’s difficult enough without trying to stop anyone from at least having a good go at doing something that they love. You have this life though, and I don’t see anything wrong with being as happy as a bunny if you’re not actually hurting anyone or anything else by helping yourself to said happy bunnyhood. Anyway.

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A lot of spam has built up while I’ve been forced to do stuff in the world of flesh and blood, and right now I’ve decided that a fan is a fan after all, and that these particular fans could be wonderful outlets for scribblers to release all those pent up urges to get new readers to buy their books. So this time I’m going to reply to all the pervy direct messages before blocking them with, “Well hello there! I am flattered and overjoyed that you have such strong feelings for me that you felt obliged to ask to have a gander at little old me in the altogether!!! Thank you for your interest! Did you know that my books are only $2.99 each? Here’s the link to buy them!!!! Don’t forget to leave five star reviews, and LIKE my Facebook page.”

Kick

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61 thoughts on “Writing is a Job

    mihrank said:
    July 10, 2014 at 7:42 am

    Jo – I agree with you Writing is a Job. The question many writers often face when asking themselves about their writing is: Is it a hobby or job? This is an argument I’ve had with my staff many times, and you’ll no doubt have it with parents, friends, and teachers as you venture down your own writing path.

    Guess which one I think it is?

    Like

      jorobinson176 responded:
      July 10, 2014 at 8:06 am

      A job. 🙂 I know that some guys do see it as a hobby themselves, but I definitely see it as my job for the rest of my life – and I’m really grateful that I can do that. Usually, unless there’s something else that I really have to do, I put at least twelve hours a day, every day, into my writing or writing related work. Still love it though. You have so many talents Mihran – it’s amazing.

      Like

        mihrank said:
        July 10, 2014 at 8:14 am

        Jo – irresistible – You are establishing such a great dialogue about writing and many other important factors, Same for me when I practice my piano with my musical group. I consider Piano a miracle for me. A piano melody safe my life 3 years ago!!

        Like

          jorobinson176 responded:
          July 10, 2014 at 9:16 am

          I would love to hear the story of your life saving melody Mihran! I so love music, but even though I had lessons as a child I just never was able to play properly, and when I sing birds fall from the sky with their wingtips in their little ears. 😀 I’m only allowed to sing when there’s nobody around because it causes so much pain and grinding of teeth. 😀 Your music takes me right to heaven every time – love it!

          Like

    pandoratears said:
    July 10, 2014 at 8:26 am

    Des employés d’automattic et wordpress m’ont volé mes écrits !
    pourtant sur un blog soit disant privé !
    De sales voleurs pour les revendre !
    Me voler mon travail !
    Des heures de travail

    Like

      jorobinson176 responded:
      July 10, 2014 at 9:05 am

      Google translate says this:

      Of Automattic employees and wordpress have stolen my writings!
      Yet on a blog saying is private!
      Dirty thieves to sell!
      Steal my work!
      Working hours

      Did someone copy your posts? You should comment on their site – or maybe there’s some way to report them.

      Like

        pandoratears said:
        July 10, 2014 at 9:08 am

        Yes madam I have a copy, all my écrits !
        Robbed for sell, for money !

        Like

          jorobinson176 responded:
          July 10, 2014 at 9:32 am

          That’s really terrible stealing a writer’s work. Have you contacted to place the thief sold it to? It sounds like you could sue someone.

          Like

            pandoratears said:
            July 10, 2014 at 9:50 am

            Yes, but no reponse !
            For the moment

            Like

              jorobinson176 responded:
              July 10, 2014 at 9:56 am

              I wonder if it would be a good idea or legal to share the link with a post on your blog site. Maybe it would be helpful if this thief was exposed, and I’m sure that the people who bought it will have to consider if they want to be seen as buying plagiarised work. I’ve seen two posts from different bloggers who have had their writing copied and pasted straight onto the same guy’s blog site. The site hosts should take these thieves sites down. I’m so sorry you’ve had this happen to you.

              Like

                pandoratears said:
                July 10, 2014 at 10:01 am

                Thank you very much, en français ça s’appelle du recel !
                receleur pour ceux ayant acheté mon travail
                I Beg you pardon my english is poor
                It’s a great idea for the site hos but nothing for the momentts,

                Like

                  jorobinson176 responded:
                  July 10, 2014 at 12:11 pm

                  Your English is very much better than my French. 🙂 Let us know what you decide to do, and if there’s anything I can do to help, please say.

                  Like

                    pandoratears said:
                    July 10, 2014 at 12:17 pm

                    Thank y Jo you are a great friend
                    Je réfléchis

                    Like

                      jorobinson176 responded:
                      July 11, 2014 at 12:55 pm

                      Anytime my friend. 🙂 X

                      Like

    Smorgasbord - Variety is the Spice of Life. said:
    July 10, 2014 at 8:52 am

    I worked for 30 years so that I could now devote my life to what I love which is writing. The peanuts are a lot tastier than the silver coin and seem to go further. My salary for the last 18 years has been in the human recompense kind. People who read my health books and changed their lives too and let me know each year that they are still here. The man who followed my programme and lost 14 stone and instead of dying at 34 is now 48 and watching his young daughters grow into beautiful women. My fiction receives payment in the form of laughter and recognition that shite happens. Would I love to sell a few more books – of course it would be lovely- but I would work many more hours a day to feel such a sense of contentment.

    Like

      jorobinson176 responded:
      July 10, 2014 at 9:12 am

      That’s the kind of payment I love to have Sally, although selling books is cool too. 😀 Apart from the fact that you’re my friend, and I think you’re fantastic in every way, you really have helped me loads healthwise – especially with how to fix this sugar eating alien I have on board, and your health posts are all really easy to understand too for all of us health dummies. And I love your kind of funny because it’s my kind of funny. 😀 XXXXXX

      Like

    Jean Reinhardt said:
    July 10, 2014 at 9:16 am

    Writing has become a way of life for me. It’s nice when I earn money from my books, but I will still keep going even if I don’t. It’s a good job I have a nail salon that I work in part time, just to make sure we have a regular income, lol.

    Like

      jorobinson176 responded:
      July 10, 2014 at 9:36 am

      I really, really have so much admiration for writers who hold down another job at the same time – just goes to show what a brilliant work ethic is too. Whatever else I ever have to do to earn a crust, I’ll always consider the scribbling as my “real” job though. 😀

      Like

    olganm said:
    July 10, 2014 at 9:21 am

    You’re so right, Jo. Never step going. Oh, I love the goats!

    Like

      jorobinson176 responded:
      July 10, 2014 at 9:38 am

      They’ll have to tie us down and hide our keyboards to make us stop. 😀 And we’ll probably still find a way to keep going. Left the car door open once, and our friend’s goat ate the dashboard – lovely little guys though. 🙂

      Like

    Harliqueen said:
    July 10, 2014 at 10:30 am

    Writing is hard, time-consuming and sometimes overwhelming. It really is a job. But it’s a job we keep striving at because we love, right? I just wish others could understand that 😀

    Like

      jorobinson176 responded:
      July 10, 2014 at 12:02 pm

      It’s the love that makes all the hard work worthwhile for me too Mishka. I suppose those who don’t feel that uncontrollable urge to create worlds and people can’t understand who we are. Never mind – we know that we’re a special kind of cool. 😀

      Like

    Mark Myers said:
    July 10, 2014 at 11:01 am

    Excellent response. Haha – Always send the buy link!

    Like

      jorobinson176 responded:
      July 10, 2014 at 11:59 am

      I was thinking of saying I would consider sending them an eyeful after they bought twenty copies of my books – duplicates. LOLOL! Wicked scribblers!

      Like

    Margaret Lynette Sharp said:
    July 10, 2014 at 11:17 am

    Writing requires considerable effort and time. It can be extremely draining, and requires skill and knowledge.
    Very good article, Jo. 🙂

    Like

      jorobinson176 responded:
      July 10, 2014 at 11:58 am

      Thank you Margaret! You are absolutely right too about the effort, skill and knowledge. Not everyone can just park themselves down and write a good novel or a short story, so those who can, and follow through and do should be given all the respect they deserve too. 🙂

      Like

    Charles Yallowitz said:
    July 10, 2014 at 11:21 am

    I get that ‘writing is a hobby’ treatment all the time. Also, ‘what is your plan B?’, ‘slow period means I failed’, ‘of course we will give you writing time if you get a full time job’, and other annoying statements. I think part of the challenge for me is that my generation of the family is composed of teachers, lawyers, doctors, a biochemist, and a ‘survivor’. Not really sure how to explain that last one without divulging family secrets/shames. Anyway, somehow I’m the black sheep who needs to be saved from his own idiocy because I went artist instead of intellectual. A writing career works so differently than other paths because it isn’t an immediate income like an office job. There are ups and downs all the time with very stressful points that get made worse by those who are openly unsupportive. My stomach is aching just from thinking about the irritation. Sad thing is that it could be easily solved if people simply listened to an author explain their trade. We’re not stupid and blind, so we can explain how this typically works and point out our successes even if they’re not a 6-figure contract and movie deal.

    Like

      jorobinson176 responded:
      July 10, 2014 at 11:55 am

      Wow – it must really be hard to be a creative in your family. Although I reckon you could easily hold your own with info on any of those professions because of being a writer, even if they can’t see it. I haven’t had anyone be openly unsupportive so far – I think that would hurt like hell. You’re so right about people being unwilling to hear about what we actually do – they blank over sometimes – it’s not fair at all. I bet when the money starts coming in nicely being a writer will suddenly be a most cool career choice. Pity us scribblers have such good memories though. 😀

      Like

        Charles Yallowitz said:
        July 10, 2014 at 12:04 pm

        Not sure if I can hold my own. For the last year, nobody has really talked to me about my writing career. Family gatherings revolve around the kids and the other jobs because people can understand those. I don’t even bring it up any more, which has resulted in me spending these events watching the clock or praying for a Wifi signal. Seriously, nobody talks to me at all beyond the initial hello or if there’s a question about my son that only I can answer.

        I’m kind of dreading the point where I make a living on this because I know what will happen. I’ll have to hear people go on about how they always knew I could do it and they’re proud of me. At least many of my friends are supportive. Though a bunch stopped talking to me after my first book came out and I have no idea why.

        Like

          jorobinson176 responded:
          July 10, 2014 at 1:13 pm

          You have to keep on going considering where you are now with all your books, and readers who interact with you all the time not only just because they like your books, but also to stick their noses in. I always smile when one of your readers tries to tell you what to do. 😀 Seriously though, it must be so tense and stressful having what you are and do entirely ignored by those you love. The problem is when it hurts enough that you stop caring about their opinions, because once that happens even if they suddenly start saying that they knew that you’d be big you still won’t care, and then they’ll be the ones who are stressed out. Maybe not a bad thing though just knowing that those reader people who really do count in the world of books love you enough to be sure that your fan base will just keep on growing. Such a lot of patience we need! I also lost a couple of people who I thought were friends along the way for no reason that I can fathom – they were also writers though, so maybe they just thought I sucked. 😀

          Like

            Charles Yallowitz said:
            July 10, 2014 at 1:48 pm

            Stressful is definitely an understatement. I tend to dread the gatherings. Learned the hard way that stating my dread was a bad idea. Even though nobody talks to me, I’m considered anti-social if I opt out. Just can’t win. 😛

            I’ve thought about the ‘you suck’ option with the friends. Maybe they’re afraid that I’ll ask their opinion.

            Like

        Charles Yallowitz said:
        July 10, 2014 at 12:04 pm

        I just realized I really have an emotional uphill battle over here. As if this gig needed to be any harder.

        Like

          jorobinson176 responded:
          July 10, 2014 at 1:19 pm

          True – I can’t write when I’m tense or upset. Although if I feel that way for long enough through no fault of my own, I generally get angry and that burns it away. I’m at the point in life these days where I only get upset if I do something wrong – if anyone else is upsetting me, and I don’t deserve it, I make a point of not allowing it.

          Like

    Reblog Thursday! | A Writer's Life For Me. said:
    July 10, 2014 at 11:44 am

    […] So, I will link to the post instead- https://africolonialstories.wordpress.com/2014/07/10/writing-is-a-job/ […]

    Like

    Gator Woman said:
    July 10, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    That is my personal favorite scene from Love Actually,
    which has long been our favorite movie.
    LOVE IT!

    Like

      jorobinson176 responded:
      July 10, 2014 at 1:20 pm

      Me too! I’m also a repeat watcher of my favourites. 😀

      Like

        Gator Woman said:
        July 10, 2014 at 1:49 pm

        We know every line of the movie by heart.
        It is wonderful!~

        Like

    The Story Reading Ape said:
    July 10, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    Reblogged this on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog….. An Author Promotions Enterprise! and commented:
    Some great thoughts from Jo on Writing IS a Job 😀

    Like

      jorobinson176 responded:
      July 11, 2014 at 12:56 pm

      Thanks for sharing Chris! MWAH! And another X 😀

      Like

    Lawrence Grodecki said:
    July 10, 2014 at 1:41 pm

    Real authors don’t munch doughnuts…they dunk and savor!

    Like

    geraldine said:
    July 10, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    This post really touched a cord! Writing can be such a lonely job and if you’re unsupported, it’s that much harder. That’s why I love the modern writing world with its bloggers and its kboarders. How I could have done with them in my younger writing days! Tweeted and facebooked.

    Like

    theowllady said:
    July 10, 2014 at 5:02 pm

    Reblogged this on theowlladyblog.

    Like

    authors promotion said:
    July 10, 2014 at 5:13 pm

    Reblogged this on AuthorsPR Literary Lounge.

    Like

    gillswriting said:
    July 10, 2014 at 5:23 pm

    As ever perceptive and on the button Jo! Since arriving in TZ I don’t want to get bogged down in my past and so when people ask what I do I state proudly “I am a writer and volunteer” and here, that shuts them up!! Today I had a long conversation with my students as to why I do not work in the school on Fridays and I explained , I have another job, I write. I wish all people accepted this statement as graciously as they do here.

    Like

      jorobinson176 responded:
      July 11, 2014 at 12:59 pm

      I reckon that African people are much more respectful in general, and being a writer or educator are things to be properly respected. 😀 People around and about here are always very interested when they find out I’m a scribbler, and seem genuinely interested in reading my books – could be they just feel sorry for me, but it’s still really nice. XX

      Like

    Kev said:
    July 10, 2014 at 6:32 pm

    I’m with you all the way there, Jo. I hate it when things keep me from writing… feels empty, useless, unaccomplished… I could go on. I find myself hating it when I’m at work because my mind is racing and I can’t get anything done. Grrr. Like I said, with you all the way. 🙂

    Like

    Paula Readman said:
    July 11, 2014 at 9:39 am

    I have my dear husband on my side which is enough for me, but my sister & aunt were against me giving up my job which in away I didn’t because there were redundancies afoot and I may have been one if I hadn’t taken up the offer anyway. So here I am writing every day while keep house, garden & husband happy. More than enough work of one writer. BTW: said sister finished working at 16 to looked after by her husband. Aunt finished part-time work at 50 and was supported by her husband. So I couldn’t understand why they were against me following my dream and my heart, maybe they never had a dream to follow, who knows 😦

    Like

      geraldine said:
      July 11, 2014 at 9:58 am

      Maybe there was a bit of jealousy mixed into their responses, too, especially if they’ve had lives of non-achievement.

      Some family and friends can resent the person who’s prepared to go the extra mile and work the extra hours, especially in the face of repeated rejection.

      If you’re happy and your husband’s happy, just ignore them.

      Like

    Sherri said:
    July 12, 2014 at 10:37 am

    Oh Jo, this is such an excellent post and for me, couldn’t have come at a better time. I have been having this EXACT same conversation with my hubby because other than my kids and my mum (bless ’em!), not one member of my other, extended family, have read my blog (well, except for one nephew, now and then, when I wrote a blog for his company in my early blogging days) or said one word to me about my recent poetry publications. Not that I expect gushing accolades, but a ‘I’m really happy for you’ would be nice. After all, I did the crappy, soul-destroying jobs for years while trying to keep the home fires burning, look after the kids etc. and now I’m in the position (hubby supports me, and not just financially, but I am also my daughter’s full-time arer) to be able to write from home and at last, as the grand old age of 54 – ha!! – do what I know I’m called to do.

    I’m sure that some in my family, and some friends too, think I’m sitting in my summerhouse, scribbling away with my cute vintage decs all around me, ‘playing’ at being a writer, posting on my blog when I feel like it and maybe writing one or two things just for the fun of it behind the scenes. What I have tried to explain is that I am actually working my arse off writing behind the scenes of my blog, managing my social media (and haven’t even started Twitter yet) all the while trying to build up my author platform and help build up some kind of writing presence ‘out there’ and yes, get published!!!!! All of which I’ve been doing since early 2013, from scratch,and not knowing a thing about any of it when I started out. Writing, running my daughter around for all her appointments, running the house, the garden, all the admin, everything. We are a team and as you say so wonderfully, why shouldn’t I be able to chase my writing dream,now, at last, and have something for me that I’ve wanted all my life but have never been able to achieve, until now?

    Phew…not that I’m bitter or anything, hahahaha!!!!! And I don’t even make enough for one turnip, never mind industrial strength absinthe, which sounds damn good to me about not…cheers gorgeous one ❤

    I want to yell it out.." Hello! I'm building my writing career people, and it takes time!" But I am not going to give up and one day, I hope, they will see that this is serious, as serious as their important jobs.

    Okay – I've said enough. Sorry about that little rant, but you can see this really got me in a good way because I'm now punching the air with my fist and saying "YES". Thanks so much my gorgeous friend. Oh, and I love your reply to those pervs. Absolutely classic…
    Much love and hugs and everything good to you lovely Jo and have a great weekend…and thanks again for this superb post… 😀 <3xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx ❤ 🙂

    Like

      jorobinson176 responded:
      July 12, 2014 at 1:01 pm

      I reckon you’re on the right track totally getting established and figuring out what’s going on before publishing a novel. I never had a clue in the beginning – just barged around all over the place like a bull in a china shop. I must say I find some family and friends behaviour really bad when it comes to some writers – it’s not nice, and I can’t think of any excuses for them either. People who act as if what is the most important work in your life is irrelevant or stupid are actually being nasty in my book, because that’s going to hurt, and possibly make you feel like you’ll never amount to anything in the scribblers world, and then end up giving up and getting a job peeling turnips (not sure what it is with the turnips this week 😀 ). I’m glad you have such a wonderful, supportive hubby though – that’s just what you need. I’m probably a bit peculiar though – nobody has shown lack of support for me, but I like to just bang on away, and generally chuck turnips 😛 at anyone who gets in my space, and I haven’t really offered my scribbles to many in my immediate circle yet. Your writing you is so different from your public you, that I feel much more comfortable with strangers reading my books. Odd me – I know. Still – bugger the naysayers I say – blood or not – just ignore them for now, and when you make your first million, absolutely REFUSE to give them so much as a single turnip! LOVES AND MORE LOVES my friend – I’ll be cheering in the wings when you get exactly the admiration and adoration you deserve for what you do and are. ❤ XXXXXXXXXXX 😀

      Like

        Sherri said:
        July 12, 2014 at 4:24 pm

        Ahh…well that is so kind of you dear JO and I don’t think you’re odd at all. I’m quite happy scribbling away and doing what I know is right and I need to forget what some might or might not think. I’ve got ‘my people’ and that’s great. And I know what you mean about strangers reading our writing and being more comfortable with that so perhaps that is a big part of it. And making my first million, haha!!!
        Thanks a million to you dear, lovely Jo. Have a wonderful weekend my friend 🙂 ❤ ❤ ❤ xxxxxxx

        Like

          jorobinson176 responded:
          July 13, 2014 at 11:59 am

          And a wonderful weekend to you lovely Sherri. ❤ XXXXX 🙂 ❤

          Like

    Sherri said:
    July 12, 2014 at 10:39 am

    Yikes…meant to say…’daughter’s full-time carer’ – not ‘arer’… 😉

    Like

    sheketechad said:
    July 13, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    Thank you for airing my frustrations for me 🙂 I get less flack because no one in my family cares one whit about what I do in the writing realm. Since I am my sole support, I have to also work a 3D job. It’s taxing, and my sleep suffers, but my heart work rarely feels like a job. So I’ll keep tap-tapping away at the keyboard and paying off bills, so that I can one day call this my only job, or find out that I truly don’t have what it takes. I’d rather try, and find out that I can’t cut it, than to never try.

    P.S. Loved your response to the spam 🙂

    Like

      jorobinson176 responded:
      July 14, 2014 at 12:28 pm

      Love that – heart work. I suppose that few people find their calling in life, and they probably can’t understand the feeling of a singing heart when you’re doing what you love and what you know you should be doing. Never give up though – it’s just such a horrible shame that you have to do two jobs without proper recognition for the one that counts. These spammy guys don’t know what’s going to be coming to them now – it’s good fun, and scares them away properly. Nothing like a scribbler waving books under noses to terrify. 😀 X

      Like

    annarosemeeds said:
    July 24, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    Writing is certainly a job and a difficult one at that. You bring up great points. Also, you are obviously very skilled at writing. Some people (especially those who struggle more with writing) see it only as a mean of communicating like speaking. However, speaking is also an important skill and job. It is rather sad how people look down on those jobs sometimes.

    Like

    jjspina said:
    August 5, 2014 at 10:44 pm

    I am with you, Jo. Writing is a job but one that I love and need to do every day. Most people, family included think I am just playing around with my writing.They don’t realize how serious I am about it. How much time I put into promoting, blogging and writing about my books.

    Since I retired nearly four years ago I have been working on my books and publishing venture. But some think I have nothing to do and seek to fill my days with other stuff. It is nice to share our work with other authors/bloggers such as you, Jo, who understand how important it is for us to accomplish something with our work. Keep plugging along and maybe someone will take us seriously one day when we are famous. Lol!

    Love your blog, my friend.
    Hugs & xx’s

    Like

      jorobinson176 responded:
      August 6, 2014 at 1:44 pm

      Exactly what happens to me Janice! You get to a really important piece in your work – on a roll – and then someone feels that them having egg on toast is the most important thing. Damp squib. We’ll keep on plugging, and with our lovely family of scribblers we will get there in the end. Then they can drool over our Lamborghinis. 😀 LOVE and HUGS XXXXX

      Like

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