Now don’t get excited and think I’ve figured out the cure for the common cold or the meaning of life. I’ve just gotten a step closer to better understanding what the heck I’m doing with my life. Get ready for a story:
In two months, I would have been out of college for a year. In the ten months since I’ve graduated, I have been focusing on my writing and self-published my first novel. I am also currently working on the second book of the series. Sales of the first book have been okay, nothing earth-shattering, but still amazing when I realize that there are people out there reading my book. I would have been happy selling just one book, but sadly, I can’t live off of one book’s sale. I’ll talk more about that later.
When I graduated, my parents, mostly my mom, convinced me that I needed a year off to regroup, focus on me and my writing, and really think about what I want out of my life. So, I moved back home and spent the year doing just that. The ideal situation would have been that in the year, I finish my book, publish it, and then reap the benefits. The entire year, I was hoping for the ideal situation even though realistically, according to a publishing axiom, it takes about 3 books for an author to gain traction and get noticed.
Right now, I only have one book under my belt, so it’s unlikely I’ll be reaping many benefits anytime soon. Of course, I knew this year was supposed to be about me chilling out, but I couldn’t help wanting amazing book sales, too. I mean, who wouldn’t?
I’m an optimist (maybe sometimes to a fault) and when I graduated and started working on my book, my thoughts were all best case scenario and my book was going to sell amazingly. In reality (the enemy of the optimist), sales were slow and to be honest, it was beginning to stress me out. I thought the low sales were my fault and that I wasn’t doing enough or didn’t know enough about the craft or the business to be effective. Needless to say, it has been a little disheartening even if I have that publishing axiom in my mind and obviously know I probably won’t be discovered overnight. But where you’re expecting great sales and don’t get them, no amount of axioms and logic can make you feel better and on top of that, my year was a complete break meaning I haven’t been working so I could focus solely on my writing. So, that means I have low sales and no money. Luckily, I live at home and don’t have bills/rent/food to pay for, but still, it’s depressing. It’s depressing just writing this , but I promise this story is about to get a lot more positive real soon.
Where was I? So, I was sitting there, a little depressed, not sure what I should be doing next and then… I watch a YouTube video.You should already know my love of YouTube, but I don’t think I have ever found a video that I spoke to me as much as this one did.The video was words of wisdom from Casey Neistat, a filmmaker. Here’s the link if you would like to watch it in its entirety: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bxatKNdEw8w
About 2 minutes in was what spoke to me. Casey said, “I always made a living so I could make movies. I never made movies to try and make a living. And I think that is a big mistake that a lot of newcomers do is that they focus on how can my passion pay me. And I think that is a terrible place to start. If the reason why you’re doing anything creative is to make a living, then you are doing it wrong. You get into it because it is a true passion. It’s something you believe in. Or don’t get into it at all.”
I saw the video and it was like all of the lights came on. I was looking to my writing to make me money and to make a living when it would probably be a little easier to make a living so I can write. It made so much sense that I wondered why I hadn’t figured it out before. And just because I start working doesn’t mean I’m giving up on my writing. It just allows me to save up for what I need and write without being a starving artist or having to stress about sales. This way writing stays my passion and my love and I’m not looking to it to be my only source of income. I can write at my own pace without worry. I’ve been stressing myself out worrying about sales and writing as many books as possible, but now I know better and will do better.
I’m not sure who this is for. Maybe I just needed to write this out. Maybe there’s someone else out there in a similar situation that’s now comforted to know someone else is going though the same thing. I’m right there with you and am currently working for freelance writing jobs to “make my living.” If you happen to know of any, please send them my way. I’ve been doing a lot of searching on my own already, so if you all want, I can compile a list of all of the freelance job sites I’ve found into a blog post. Just let me know. I hope this post has helped someone and you all have enjoyed another peek into me trying to figure out my life.
Until Next time!