Saturday, February 22, 2014

Making... A Living Writing?

For some wonderful 24 hours, Thursday to Friday, I seriously considered writing for a living. I made a budget. A pragmatic, realistic one. Unfortunately, there's one inescapable conclusion. I simply can't make a living writing, right now. Not yet. Even with a quicker schedule of releases, even with an amazingly generous commissioner who believes in my writing even when I sometimes don't, it just doesn't make sense yet.

I could have stretched the savings I have right now to last 3 months. I could've sold what little I have to sell and made it another 1½-2 months. I'd be living basically in poverty. 480$ of spending a month, 370$ of that rent. 55$ food, the remaining 55$ spent on my minuscule phonebill, a little bit of transportation, and the singular bit of entertainment I'd still allow myself. A WoW subscription.

And then, with a little luck, I'd be earning enough 5 months down the line that my at that point expended savings wouldn't be needed anymore. With the way my sales history has been since I first started selling ebooks, that's entirely up in the air, and it would also depend on commissions that may dry up. Even so, writing for a living is my dream. I wrote my first story when I was 8 or 9. I wouldn't mind living in poverty if it meant I could write for a living, if I could at least count on continuing being able to pay the bills.

But there is no such assurance. For any author. The difference is, some authors can save up in the good months. I would be in a far more precarious situation. Of course, here in Denmark, there's various state monetary aid programs. However, you aren't allowed to have your own registered company if you're on one of those programs. No registered company means I can't get an EIN. No EIN means Amazon, Smashwords and any other retailer keeps 30% of my earnings. Which means I -definitely- can't live off them. To be able to go on one of those programs, I'd have to entirely, completely shut down the company, unpublish my stories and then come crawling.

And I won't do that. So the only thing that makes sense to do is to do the 2 years I still need to to finish my education. I need to be a trainee, and then in 2 years, I'll be done. By that time, perhaps I'll be able to make a living writing. The opportunity won't be there until then, because if I'm starting this education, I'm finishing it too. At least I'll have a safety net, then.

So I suppose that's the depressing realization. I can't make a living writing. Not yet, anyway. I'll simply have to refocus my drive and write in the evenings when I get home from work. You get what you give in this business. You make a living if you work for it. I won't have as much time to work for it, so it'll be a slower process. That sucks, but sometimes, that's life.

At least in the mean time, I can actually create my company. I can get an EIN. I can start making money on the side, and I can actually reinvest that money in covers and editing, rather than trying to make a living with it. And then in 2 years, with a little luck, I'll have a finished education and the ability to make my living writing if I so choose.

Until then, it'll be cruising along, trying my best to keep up with commissions and release schedules.

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