Tuesday, October 30, 2012

On Being an Unemployed Writer

One of my colleagues on the Wyrdsmiths blog referred to herself as an unemployed writer, because she doesn't have a contract at the moment.

This got my goat, and I wrote the following:
I don't think a free lance writer can be unemployed, if he or she is writing. I checked an online dictionary. Meaning # 1 is "to hire." Meaning # 2 is "to keep busy." Meaning # 3 is "to use." Meaning # 4 is "to occupy or devote."

If you don't have a contract, you are unemployed in meaning # 1, but not in meanings # 2, #3 and #4.

I have almost never written under contract, because I don't like the pressure. Instead, I write the story I want to write and then try to sell it. In most cases, I do manage to sell it, though I have never made the kind of money that other Wyrdsmiths have and do.

I told one of my editors years ago that my income from writing paid for conventions and Laura Ashley skirts. I no longer buy Laura Ashley clothing. So maybe now -- in a good year -- my income from writing pays for conventions and J. Jill clothing.

Because I don't like pressure, I write slowly. I think a bit of pressure might help me write more quickly and more, which is one reason I have two contracts right now.

In any case, I don't think of myself as unemployed, but rather as self-employed.


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