My Writing Job

Like many writers out there, I always knew this was my dream profession. And I’ve worked my whole life to build a writing career… and, although I’ve yet to reach my ultimate goal of publishing a book, I’m happy to say that I’ve been “living the dream” of being a paid writer for over a decade now.

But it hasn’t been an easy journey.

In fact, at times, it’s painfully hard.

I worked many full-time jobs before finally launching a full-time writing career in 2007. Even since that time, I’ve taken on various consulting gigs and P/T things to help pay bills or entertain other interests of mine. 

But let me keep it real, friends. 

In my writing career, client contracts come and go. I’ve endured TONS of rejection, compared myself to my peers and, I’ll admit it, experienced writer jealousy of whoever landed whatever amazing writing gig in wherever gorgeous place. There’ve been tears and bouts of frustration and worries over money. In the early years, when I was desperately trying to pull together a writing portfolio, sometimes that even meant taking on unpaid work (whether that’s a good thing to do or not could be a whole other blog post…). My first "real" big client paid gig was writing trivia questions – thousands of them. At the time, the year-long project seemed mundane, but it also taught me about following guidelines, keeping to a deadline, and time management (it also turned out to be my "big break" because my performance on this project led to more interesting writing opportunities.)

More realities of my life: sometimes I’m so swamped juggling parenting, clients, deadlines, etc, that I don’t have much energy leftover for my creative endeavors, such as the YA manuscript I’m hoping to pitch to agents soon, which can be discouraging. And income fluctuates – depending on the client, sometimes checks arrive many months after work has been completed, so we have to plan for that sort of thing. Interest and dedication to the craft and client fluctuates, too. Over the last year I've taken on part-time consulting work in a totally different industry just because I wanted to challenge myself in a new way, work with new contacts, and get face-time with people (people!) after years of living in what often feels like total seclusion. 

Some additional truths about my writing job:

Sometimes I feel drained of words.

I wonder if I have anything new to say, or a new way of saying it.  

Nothing feels stable. 

Work tends to go with me everywhere.

At times, I question where I should direct my creative energy.

Sometimes it's a lonely profession.

Sometimes I want to do other things. 

It often feels like I never get a day off to recharge.

Sometimes the rejection and feeling of inadequacy is too much to bear.

But still. I never want to give up writing. Why?

Because my love for words and the written experience is beyond deep... It’s in my cells. It’s everything about who I am, and what I want to be, and the impact I want to have on this world during my short time here.

And writing as a job can be amazing.

I feel so blessed to have experienced incredible opportunities in the short span of my career – especially in regards to travel, and the people/companies I’ve worked with over the years, and all the things that have stretched my skills and ultimately made me a better writer.

Even though I don't love everything of mine that's been published, I have created some work that I am passionately proud of – Work that I couldn’t wait to get published to share with readers. 

It’s those moments that make me appreciate how hard this writing journey is.

I feel renewed excitement for what I do – and what I could do in the future.

I wonder, what if?

I begin to see the world differently.

I learn something new about myself.

I grow – and I want to give back.

I feel infinitely full

I type away furiously and passionately for hours on end and scribble notes in my idea journal.

I read, read, read, to study those much better at writing than I, and to lose myself in the power of good story.

Suddenly, the fear of the hard work at hand isn't as daunting... I feel brave enough to face it.

My writing journey has been a series of beginnings. False starts, question marks, redirected energies. My personal definition of success and fulfillment has shifted over time. I’m still trying to get better. I’m still pushing towards new goals, and trying to thicken my skin.

There’s nothing quite like an exciting new project that ignites a flame in my writing mind – something so intoxicating that new ideas are conjured simply because I can’t stop thinking about it, and I’m propelled to put pen to page because the passion won’t sit still – it must move.

For me, the up’s and down’s of writing are part of the job and part of the joy. Each wave of disappointment and success rolls into the next. Many no's can lead to a yes.

It’s a journey that I hope will continue for the rest of my life.

{photos captured from various writing spots over the last year}

P.S. Just getting started with your writing career? Looking to try your hand at other types of writing (not just books...)? A few resources that have helped me before: Freelance Writing Jobs, Media Bistro, Media Kitty, Journalism Jobs and Craigslist. Also, being part of reputable organizations such as the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrator's (SCBWI) and North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA) have provided me with fabulous networking + growth opportunities over the years. Networking & relationships are key in this field. Read up on magazine, website, etc submission guidelines too – I've gotten numerous gigs just plugging away with pitching my work. Ask yourself, what magazines do you like to read? What's your expertise? Any particular websites you bookmark? Thoughtfully consider what you could contribute to that audience and send your ideas to the editor in accordance with their submission guidelines. I think having an active, professional social media presence has helped over the last year too... I actually give Twitter credit for connecting me with my latest writing job! News on that soon :) I also try to frequently update my website. Even if I'm not blogging, I upload new portfolio clips and links, rotate photographs, and so on, just to keep it fresh.

Do you have more job hunt resources for aspiring writers? Leave them in the comments below! 


This is a great look at the positives and negatives of the writing life, Jodi, and I LOVE the photos!

You're so generous to share your sources of writing jobs, Jodi! I have one to offer in return, which was given to me by author Kathleen Duey, who no longer needs to rely on it, but did for many years - it's a yahoo group:

Thank you, Jodi. You really captured things I feel.

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