I’m a writer. At least, I feel comfortable self-identifying in this way, given the fact that long hours of my day are spent:
- Researching the topics about which I am (or will soon be) writing;
- Procrastinating, when I really should be writing;
- Feeling guilty that I’m not writing.
I’ve always enjoyed committing words to paper in the furtherance of some generally obscure objective, and I’ve even successfully maintained my focus for long enough to complete a now-out-of-print novella and a full-length novel. (Shameless plug #231: The Consistency of Parchment is now available for the Kindle. The “Look Inside” feature has been activated on my Amazon listing, so feel free to browse through a few sample chapters before buying and recommending it to all of your friends, colleagues, relatives, and random passers-by).
I’m not setting the bestseller lists on fire, mind you. Not by any means. So like many (maybe most) other writers, I should only be considered a fairly serious amateur – one who relies for his living on money from a more stable profession. And this stable profession is …
University academic. A writer by another name.
Not that I’ve even there yet. I’m in the final stages of my PhD, which means that the academic job is still a ways off. But the point is that in order to sustain myself and my family, to earn a living income, and to support my writing endeavours, I’ve set myself on a course that will land me in one of the few professions I can think of where constant rejection is as much of an ongoing reality as it is for the ‘amateur’ writer.
My masochism obviously knows no bounds. I’m staring down the barrel of a professional career filled with “Dear Author …” letters to complement the stack of rejection forms from agents and publishers that I’ve been accumulating since my twenties. (And I may not even have the carrot of tenure to motivate my struggles, if this and many other such articles from The Chronicle of Higher Education have it right).
Good thing I really love to turn a phrase, then. I suppose the trick will be in somehow turning a profit.