I am sitting here writing to you while I enjoy Whole Foods sushi and Cheetos. It is my “cheer up! meal,” not to be confused with my “cozy meal,” which is Trader Joe’s butternut squash ravioli with a lot of marinara sauce and Parmesan cheese.
And why might I need cheering up you ask? Because sometimes being a writer really fucking sucks.
Yeah, I could have chosen to become a scientist or a doctor or a lawyer or a ballerina, but I didn’t. I started doing the one (and seemingly only!) thing I know how to do semi-well as a profession about four years ago. Even though I love it deeply and do it daily, sometimes it makes me cry and feel like I would be better off supporting myself financially and emotionally by selling pictures of my feet online.
Jk my feet are too ugly for that.
5 THINGS THAT REALLY SUCK ABOUT BEING A WRITER:
#1 You’re Rarely Paid A Living Wage
If you can get a salaried job as a staff writer or on an editorial team, good for you!!! You’re probably barely making enough money to move out of your parent’s house and get your own apartment, but at least you’re juuuuuuust making it. But if you’re a freelancer or a contributor or anything of the sort– you’re fucked. The $25 an hour (for not guaranteed hours btw) or $20 per story you’re pitching to write and be paid, is not going to pay a single bill. You might as well spend it on tissues to sop up all your tears or to at least wipe the spit off your face.
#2 As A Freelancer You May Get Paid At Different Times– Or You Know, Never
Some freelance jobs are awesome. You send them an invoice and BAM, money is in your direct deposit 1-2 business days later. Most jobs will take a week to two weeks to pay you, which is not ideal but it’s to be expected. What’s not expected is when a job tells you that haha oh yeah! It’s going to take 4-weeks after the invoice is approved for you to receive payment. You might be spending 8 hours a day on the computer, eyes burning, and not see a dime for a whole fucking MONTH! And there are those places that don’t pay you at all. You’ve invoiced them. You’ve emailed them. You’ve had it written in the sky. The only next logical step is to call the police I guess idk.
#3 You Have To Prove Yourself With An Editing Test That You Don’t Get Paid For
RARELY, but it happens, someone will pay you for the work and effort you put into this long ass editing test you are sent to prove yourself as a writer/editor. It’s like giving away a free sample! Only the free sample is two 300 to 400 word pieces on current events in the entertainment news cycle plus 5 pitch ideas plus social and SEO headlines. It’s almost as if media doesn’t value the skills of a writer at all…. ;;;;; )
#4 If You’re Any Sort Of Lifestyle Writer, Straight Men Will Act Like Your Job Is Foofy*
No, I’m not out here curing cancer but it’s not like your sales job is saving the world either, Jake! Just because a work emergency for me means I need to access a computer and wifi ASAP to write about Kylie Jenner’s new hair doesn’t mean what I’m doing is stupid. People love this shit! I LOVE THIS SHIT! And yeah, this embargoed news piece about Olive Garden’s breadsticks is important. It’s my fucking job, Brandon. You can go ahead and take a long walk in your boat shoes right off a cliff.
*Foofy: meaning excessively frilly, fou fou, superfluous
#5 You Constantly Beat Yourself Up
Whether you’re trying to write the next great American novel or just trying to write about your new favorite skincare, it’s easy to get down on yourself. There are so many people writing, and it’s good and they’re incredible and those voices–especially the marginalized ones–need to be pushed to the front so that they are heard because they have something important to say. But what you have to say matters too. Even if it’s foofy. Somebody out there is reading it and smiling or sharing it with a friend. Even if it’s shit, your grandma loves it. Your sister is proud of you even though you missed a word or forgot a period or fucked up SO badly you had to delete it and start again. Yes, it’s an endless nightmare but you do it because for some reason it feeds your soul. Ugh. Put down the glass of wine and keep writing. You’ll strike genius someday.