What is the dream for most aspiring writers? The most common answer is to make a career out of writing. After all, you love writing. So why wouldn’t you want to do it for a living? The problem, though, is how do you take that giant leap of giving up your current work life to write full-time?
Becoming a full-time writer is scary on so many levels. For one, you will no longer have financial security. Unless you are already filthy stinky rich, that is. Also, we aren’t all Stephen King. Which means our work isn’t guaranteed to sell like hot cakes no matter the quality of the writing. It’s a huge risk. But if you think you’re ready to take it, you must ask yourselves these questions first. Because it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
1. Do You Need To Write Full-Time To Be Successful?
Here’s the obvious question you should ask yourself. And before you answer it, you’d be surprised by how many successful writers still have day jobs. Now granted, having a decent paying job that you actually like doing helps make juggling work and writing a bit easier.
The thing is, we all want or need more writing time. And if you’re already working a full-time job, it can really be challenging. Some folks are lucky in the regard that their job allows them time to write while they are at work. But most of us aren’t afforded that luxury. Just remember, if you do decide to quit your day job to write full-time, make sure you have enough money saved up and a plan to be successful. Never quit your job if you aren’t financially stable or have a substantial alternative income.
2. Do You Really Want To Write Full-Time?
You’re probably thinking, “Of course I do! That’s the whole point of reading this.” But it’s a whole other thing to actually spend eight-plus hours a day, forty-plus hours a week writing. Just like a real day job, you’ll eventually get burnt out. The main issue arises when you rely on your writing to cover your cost of living.
Being a paid writer sounds like a wonderful dream to most of us, but the reality can be closer to a nightmare. You see, when writing is your sole source of income, writing is now your job. That means it may become less enjoyable and more like a chore you NEED to do rather than something you WANT to do. Most likely, you won’t go right into selling and living off of the books you want to write. Instead, you’ll find yourself taking odd freelance jobs to cover your bills. And that can be a lot less fun than you ever imagined.
3. How Is Your Cash Flow?
Like I mentioned earlier, it’s very important to have adequate money saved up for when you quit your job to pursue writing full-time. If possible, you should have at least one whole year’s worth of income saved up before quitting your job. This will give you the best chance of hitting the ground running in your quest to make it as a writer.
Another option is having a significant other who is willing to support you until you start bringing in a steady income through your writing. Sadly, that’s becoming more and more rare these days. Again, if you or your spouse aren’t already filthy stinky rich, managing your finances without a job can be tough. So, be smart and think ahead. You don’t want to end up taking on an awful part-time job to help make ends meet.
4. Are You Ready To Play The Long Game?
Are you absolutely sure you’re ready for this? Because chances are, it’s going to take a while for you to find any real success. At least in the novel-writing world. Remember, most overnight success stories take years to happen. Which is why so many authors take on side freelance gigs to make some extra dough.
You never want to bank on nailing a huge book deal right off the bat. And even if you do score that book deal, you probably won’t make enough money to live off. Remember, you aren’t going to make Stephen King money. Hell, even Stephen King didn’t make Stephen King money when he first started writing full-time. It takes years of hard work and sacrifice. Nobody said being a writer would always be fun.