I thought it’d be fun to take a look at some of the questions I get from people. Maybe I can answer them here and you can get some ideas or solutions for your own problems, whatever they may be.
I’m not sure I should be a writer, I think it’s just a waste of time, what do you think?
If you like sitting on the couch, can that make you money? How about playing computer games all the time?
I’d think about these before writing. Writing takes a lot of work and it can also make you hands sore.
Why do you put so many ads on your site?
That’s what an ad click gets me, but if you actually buy a product, we might be talking some real money, some nickels and dimes. Remember, this content that I write isn’t free. It costs me time and thoughts and complex processes in my body that I don’t even know about.
I think most people understand this, and sometimes when they like an article they’ll click on an ad. And hell, I get a lot of disposable traffic from Twitter and Google, many going to articles I wrote a year ago or more. Getting a few pennies from those casual observers doesn’t bother me. And for people like you, Miguel, that have been reading this site for awhile, I think you understand that.
What sucks about writing full-time?
I now stand up when I write all the time, but I used to sit down all the time. I think that gave me hemorrhoids, and they still haven’t gone away. It hurts.
So those are some things that suck about writing. If you’re writing for people, then dealing with the regular frustrations of making products for other people rise up. After you work for people long enough, however, these things don’t bother you as much.
Noise is a big bother, that’s for sure. I can write when it’s noisy, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. At least I’m not writing in classrooms between classes with kids running around in the hallway anymore. That really sucked.
Worrying about bills is probably one of the chief concerns with writing full-time. I don’t know any statistics, but I’d say fewer than 25% of full-time writers are making a living on their income alone. So you worry about money, and perhaps that gives you hemorrhoids, and then you have to stand up all the time, so your feet hurt…oh, let’s just move on.
I look at your books and see that they don’t have very good rankings. Do you feel like a failure?
Maybe not everyday, but often. Certainly once a week. I feel like a failure because sometimes it just seems like I’m not going anywhere.
- Sometimes I get this feeling when I don’t sell any books for awhile.
- Sometimes I get it when I sell quite a few books, but just not enough.
- Sometime I get this feeling when I haven’t gotten any jobs writing for people for awhile. Sometimes I get it when I have too many jobs.
It can be a double-edged sword, success and failure. Sometimes when you’re doing really well you feel like you’ll fail at any moment, or that others will find you out. Many times you’re doing so badly – or at least think you are – that even a step up seems like a step back.
I don’t think I’d ever not want to feel like a failure, for then I’d never have that spur to action. And if I ever got to the top, well, where else would there be to go, but down of course?
Failure is something that I think people need, and if not the actual attainment of it, at least the threat of it or the likelihood or just the awareness. I want to know failure is right there around the corner or up the bend or a step behind me, I want that.
Many don’t, and they’re often the one’s that taste failure the most often or the most spectacularly.
But then, that’s not true. The people that avoid failure never feel it or experience it at all. They never have much success, either.
So it’s that double-edge again, that tightrope without a net. It’s a fine line to walk but it’ll certainly make you feel uneasy.
I don’t really know where I’m going with this response anymore, and perhaps that means it’s failed. But that’s one of those things you’ll have to put up with a lot, failure.
I’ve read some of your old posts. Man, you get kicked off of social media and blogs a lot. Why is that?
We say we’re writers, but maybe we don't want drama, rhetoric, emotion and other things that do actually lead to conflict...the very things we try, and sometimes lo and behold, succeed at creating.
So we act nice, and play nice, and things go to hell all around us. It is possible to say things in nice, flowery ways that don't have as much of an impact as direct communication, I will agree to that, but it seems to me you get that with about 75% of responses you see on social media and websites...when people even respond at all.
Websites and newspapers and places we discuss ideas are forums, age-old concepts where thoughts and ideas could be expressed freely.
Oh, there are restraints on that speech, boundaries if you will, and I push them. I push them hard. And that will always offend people. For never forget that your teachers and supporters will always tell you to find your voice, but then when you do, they'll never spare a chance to tell you to stop using it if it ever steps on their toes.
So say what you think, and expect that every once in awhile you’ll piss someone off and maybe lose some privileges. So be it, that’s the price you pay.
When I lived in China you couldn’t do that. First, they didn’t have social media as we know it. Next, you couldn’t criticize government. And finally, oh, I don’t know – what do you want me to say?
I’m pretty much an asshole with an opinion and a willingness and ability to express it. If that bothers you, best to get out of the way, shutter the windows and jamb up the doors. Or just kick me off your network and continue with business as usual, finally protected against those that say what they think.