The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Should I look for work?

A note from a student:


Hi. You've only met me IRL once, at a con in Cinci several years ago. I've commented on facebook posts a few times, but again, not recently because I've dropped facebook from my life (actually, Facebook dropped me, and I got tired of trying to fix it. Google+ was just emerging, so I thought I'd try it out). I'm trying to work through the LifeWriting program, but I'm finding I have some issues to resolve first, so I am considering switching to Mastering F.E.A.R. first, then trying LifeWriting again.

That's all background

My question is this. I have just been laid off (my job,random mandatory overtime, stress about my job, and stress about being laid off from my job were major excuses for not pushing through with LifeWriting). I am at a crossroads. I would love to plunge into writing full-time, but I have no discernible income or buffer for living on until I start selling my writing (I have a half a dozen half-written short stories, and the stereotypical trilogy in progress that I have been leaving on the back burner, mostly because of advice from every professional writer I have spoken to). That being the case, would you recommend searching like crazy for a job, or writing like crazy, throwing the dice, and trusting that there is enough good in the universe that I can survive? If the second, do you have a hint on how to survive while trying to shift careers to being the writer that I should have started out as?

If you have gotten this far, thanks for your time, and thanks for all the wonderful advice I've gotten from you over the years.

Dear XXX

ABSOLUTELY get a job first. There is nothing that kills creativity more than trying desperately to find a way to twist your work to make a buck. It is like putting your "inner child" out on the corner, turning tricks.

Your adult self MUST pull the plow to create a safe space for your child to play. Simultaneously, you should be writing 2-4 short stories a month and sending them out for publication. Have fun. Let them be your creative reward.

Trust the universe. But work your ass off.


PLEASE share this thought with your partner, and/or Mastermind group. It is quite possible to work your way to a professional career--I know many who have. But it requires planning, energy, faith, and luck. If that is your dream, I want you to have it!

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