Don’t Quit Your Day Job

Posted on March 3, 2014 in Writing / 0 Comments

It is an undeniable fact that breaking into the entertainment business is a tough road.  When most people talk about the “Biz” they are talking about show business – think film, television, and stage performing.  In reality, entertainment is so much more than that.  After all, outside of acting, there is comedy, music, and writing.  Yes, I said it – writing.

I don’t understand why some people get pretentious about writing being referred to as a form of entertainment.  We write to tell stories – true and fictional – and we may consider it to be “an art form of the highest caliber” but actors usually feel the same was about their craft.  Try telling Mr. DiCaprio that what he does is frivolous in the face of your melodramatic memoir and see what he says.

I digress.

The point is, most of the country’s population glamorizes the Biz and don’tchaknow, we’d all rather be “telling stories” and “playing around in front of a camera” than ringing up burgers at McDonalds and sweeping floors at the elementary school across town.  Putting aside the fact that the Biz isn’t all fun and games, it’s incredibly difficult to break into.

You need, at the barest observational level, three main things:

  1. Talent.
  2. Ambition.
  3. Connections.

If you are missing any one of these three elements, it ain’t gonna happen. Bada bing, bada boom, you’re done.  If you’re like me and are void two or more, then you’re up sh** creek without a paddle.  You might self-publish or make it a while in community theatre, but schweetheart, at the end of the day you’re still a waitress/dental assistant/accountant.

One of the first pieces of advice you will get from a literally agent, editor, publisher, and your mom will be that if you want to be a writer, don’t quit your day job.

But I won’t have any time to write!

Poppycock.  You make time for the things you love.  If you view writing with all the dread and time-consumption of your day job, it may not be a great fit for you.  Yes, it is hard work.  Besides finding time for writing and querying, you need to connect with a lit group, do your research, and maybe even take a few English, Writing, and Literature courses at your community college.  Once you’ve done all that, you’ve got to edit, proofread, edit and proofread for the people in your lit group, make dinner, and go back to work in the morning.  Writing, like any craft, requires a commitment.  But it does not require going broke.

So listen to all those professionals and also you mom – write hard, write passionately, and get enough sleep so you can go to work in the morning.  The life of a writing isn’t glamorous, but it’s a worthwhile one.

And hey, when you get your first 6-digit royalty check… quitting the day job and retiring to the Hamptons for a peaceful life of writing and beach-walking may be just the ticket.

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