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jclarkdawe
04-29-2013, 05:48 PM
This thought comes from a rep comment I received. Originally I was going to respond to just the person, but I realized that this situation comes up quite a bit, and many people on this forum swing one way or the other, and its a bit confusing to the other half. And a fair amount of people that don't think which way they want to swing.

Are you looking for a career in writing or are you looking to just sell the book you're writing? The answer to this question effects how you view your present WIP and the querying process. Because the long-term goals are very, very different.

Let me start with some personal history. I've written quite a few magazine articles and even had a regular column for a while. It was for a specialized subject and and a limited range of magazines, but I was being paid enough to take my wife out to a really good restaurant and have change left over.

Then I had a nonfiction book published by a small publisher. No advance, but the checks every six months paid for quite a few visits to restaurants, and not McDonalds, either. Not enough to buy a car, but hey, not a big market, either. The publisher and I discussed doing a rewrite a few years ago, but we looked at the economy in the horse industry and decided it wasn't likely to fly.

I decided to see whether I could go out to some more restaurants with fiction writing. Wrote STALLED DREAMS and got no where fast. Wrote THE NEXT STEP and got an agent and auditions with the big six publishers. Universally rejected, and mostly because the lack of action didn't seem to be marketable.

Wrote THE PICTURE and no one could decide whether it was YA or adult, but it didn't work as undecided. Wrote MORTON'S FORK which has been read and rejected by several agents. I've still got some agents to try, but it's not looking encouraging. Comments are that it's too quiet a novel to succeed in today's market. Now if this was ten years ago!

Each story has been a learning experience. Each story has been dropped without looking back as the lesson has sunk in that each has had to teach me. And the reason for that is because I'm looking at the career, not the book. Each book is forming a part of the whole, and may be necessary to get to the whole, but it's not essential that each get published.

Meanwhile, other writers here are slogging the same story, year after year after year. Now for the memoir writers this makes sense, but for novel writers, you have to ask. Are they interested in only that one book or are they interested in the career. Because if you're interested in a career, you understand that dumping a book because it's reached its limit is what needs to happen to advance your career.

Meanwhile, I'm taking what the carcasses of my old books have told me that I'm doing right, and trying to fix what I'm doing wrong. I hope the next book I write succeeds, but if it doesn't, I'm sure it will help me advance towards my overall goals.

So, are you interested in the book or the career? You don't have to answer out loud, but the more you answer this to yourself, the more your stress levels will be appropriate to the situation.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

Buffysquirrel
04-29-2013, 05:56 PM
I guess I'm interested in the book. I have no belief in a career. I wrote this book first over ten years ago, dropped it for a long time because I thought it was worthless, then realised a) it wasn't that bad and b) the story was still nagging me wanting to be told.

If I could sell even one book that'd be amazing to me.

That said, I have written some other books as well.

James D. Macdonald
04-29-2013, 06:11 PM
You build a career one book at a time.

seun
04-29-2013, 06:18 PM
Career. With each book I write, I try to improve on the one before. Whether I have a career or not, I can't say, but that's what I'm working towards.

CaroGirl
04-29-2013, 06:23 PM
I'm with you, jclark. I'm in this for the career. I've written 5 novels so far, only one has been published to date. My publisher has another manuscript and if they reject it, I'll trunk it because it'll have had its chance. And then I'll move on to my latest ms, which is a departure from my earlier work and, I think, more commercial.

I'm not so invested in every book that I can't get past a rejection. I have other books written and more stories in my head. You build a career one book at a time but that doesn't mean universal rejection of that one book has to stymie an entire career.

Keep writing, keep submitting, keep learning, because that's what we do.

Phaeal
04-29-2013, 06:26 PM
My plan was to write first novels of series until one of them got picked up. So I think I may say I'm there for the career, not for any one book. At the same time, I've yet to give up on a book that's made it through the first draft. These books may be on extended hiatus, but trunked? Nope. I don't own a trunk, just a bunny hutch where the new ideas and resting MSS get to do what bunnies do until they're ready for the bunny show, either for the first time or all over again.

Jamesaritchie
04-29-2013, 06:37 PM
Agents and publishers prefer career writers, but all any writer can do is write one book, and then write another book, on and on.

Namatu
04-29-2013, 07:01 PM
Each book is forming a part of the whole, and may be necessary to get to the whole, but it's not essential that each get published. ...

dumping a book because it's reached its limit is what needs to happen to advance your career.

Meanwhile, I'm taking what the carcasses of my old books have told me that I'm doing right, and trying to fix what I'm doing wrong. I hope the next book I write succeeds, but if it doesn't, I'm sure it will help me advance towards my overall goals.Words of wisdom.

I'm not really sure if I'm writing for a career, but the above is the approach I take. I'll make it as good as I can and, regardless of what happens, take what I've learned on to the next book. I do want to give those books a chance out in the world. If the world doesn't want them, I'm still happy to have them, and I'll still be writing more.

folkchick
04-29-2013, 07:32 PM
A career, because I have many ideas for stories and characters, and I truly love the act of writing a novel. I'd happily write a novel every year for the rest of my life, if allowed.

Ellaroni
04-29-2013, 07:38 PM
Ultimate goal would be a career, certainly. But realistically I'm more likely to work as a teacher until I retire. Thankfully, I love that job.
It would be awfully nice to get a few books out there to eager readers, though, so I trudge on writing.

shadowwalker
04-29-2013, 07:44 PM
Like everything else I do, it's one thing at a time. One book at a time, one story at a time - if I sell something, there's a better chance I'll sell something else. If the first doesn't sell, I'll try something else and keep trying until it works. I've never had a career, just gone from one opportunity to the next, so making writing a career isn't in my game plan either. Writing is a pretty tenuous career anyway - each new book can make it or break it, after all.

DeleyanLee
04-29-2013, 07:47 PM
I think, by the definition given in the OP, that means I'm career-minded, but I don't think about any career aspects as I'm writing.

There was a time when I was certain I'd have a career in writing, but now I see it's so far beyond my control that it doesn't appear on my radar. I focus on doing the best I can do with the book I'm writing right now, but I'm long past any emotional need to only focus on marketing one book forever. There's too many stories in my head to be written yet to obsess about the one that's already written.

bearilou
04-29-2013, 07:53 PM
So, are you interested in the book or the career? You don't have to answer out loud, but the more you answer this to yourself, the more your stress levels will be appropriate to the situation.

Timely discussion for me.

At the moment, I'm taking a step back and re-evaluating what I want. Expectations, plans, attitude re-adjustments, everything is coming under scrutiny to see if it is contributing towards forward progress. And, most importantly, what that progress consists of.

Most importantly, what are my end points? What are my victory conditions?

Once it's a little clearer to me, then, how will I get there or how to plan to get there because my expectations will be more inline with my progress.

To determine all that, I have to know what it is that I'm focused on now. Is this a singular book situation or a career move?

Still working on that one.

Xelebes
04-29-2013, 07:57 PM
Neither book nor career. Hobby. I write what I write because it is fun and don't really bother with the publishing game. That being said, I don't really offer advice on publishing.

Chris P
04-29-2013, 08:01 PM
I'm writing as a career in that I want to keep writing and hopefully get better with each one. I think I'm succeeding on the getting better front, and I'm seeing progress. Now, I'm not writing as a way to make a living, but if that happens I'll be thrilled. I figure at my age and at my rate, I probably have about 15 novels to look forward to.

When I get discouraged, I remind myself that it took 4 years of undergrad plus seven years for MS and PhD to just be marketable in the field I wanted to work in, then several more years before I began to get recognition from people I respected. It would have been nice to hit one out of the park at the first at-bat, but nothing in my life has happened that way. I got serious about writing only about seven years ago, so I can be patient and let myself be where I am in my development.

AshleyEpidemic
04-29-2013, 08:06 PM
I am writing with the goal of a career. I will continue to write whether I reach that goal or not. It is a release I need desperately.

heza
04-29-2013, 08:06 PM
I'm not sure I'm far enough along in the game to have an approach. I'm really partial to the story I'm working on right now, but I've got other stories in the wings to work on if this one falls through. I think I'll be equally devoted to those when the time comes.

I'd love to get each story published, of course, and I doubt I'll ever really trunk one forever. If it doesn't sell, I'll sell the next, or the next. And someday, I'll figure out where I went wrong and fix the ones that didn't sell. I'll probably self publish what I can't get picked up by the traditional publishers.

So knowing that, I guess I'm a little of both. I'd like to find some kind of home eventually for every book, but I'd like to have a career publishing more than just one book.

Shakesbear
04-29-2013, 08:10 PM
Neither book nor career. Hobby. I write what I write because it is fun and don't really bother with the publishing game. That being said, I don't really offer advice on publishing.

This.

CaroGirl
04-29-2013, 08:13 PM
I'd like to clarify that when I say "career" I do NOT mean fiction writing as a way to make a living wage. I've received royalties and I know how unrealistic that is. I take career to mean having the goal of publishing several novels rather than stopping at writing one and publishing that one.

jjdebenedictis
04-29-2013, 08:36 PM
I want the career.

That can't happen until there's a book.

So I fixate on the book and do everything I can for it. Edit it, query it, wibble about it.

And when I realize I have to let yet another one go, I start over and do it all again for the next book.

So I'm focused on the book, not the career, but that doesn't mean it's always the same book.

kkbe
04-29-2013, 09:25 PM
I've always been able to draw, I've created some really good stuff but I never desired to earn my living as an artist. Even so, I went to college, got a BFA, and worked as a graphic artist for ten years. Never considered it a career. My career was going to be teaching. I went back to college, got my certification, then went back again for my MA in Education, and got a job teaching little kids and I loved it. Then I had an accident and had to quit. I started writing to fill that void.

Writing isn't a career right now. It's more of a passion. Each novel has been different, and progressively better, I think--that inevitable learning curve. I'm looking at each novel separately and I suspect a couple, including my WIP, are decent, maybe more than decent, and worth a shot--try to get them out there. I feel duty-bound to try. Who knows what's going to happen but even if I never sell anything, I imagine I'll keep writing. Unless or until that well runs dry.

KTC
04-29-2013, 10:13 PM
I have never in my life looked for a career in ANYTHING. This is also the case with my writing. But please, DO NOT MISTAKEN THIS VIEWPOINT WITH INDIFFERENCE OR LACK OF DRIVE TO DO MY BEST EVERY STEP OF THE WAY.

My one goal in life is to live it. I long ago found a way to bring home the bacon. That thing I do for 40hrs a week means NOTHING to me. I love the people I share that time with--I've been sharing that time with them for 26 years. But my 'life' begins at home...and in the community.

I have written about 10 books now (I've lost track and some may consider that sloppy). 3 of them are published and doing fairly well. I'm proud of the feedback that all 3 have received.

I have a literary agent and she has 2 YA novels on submission at the moment.

I am about to have my 6th play produced for the InspiraTO Festival at the Alumnae Theatre in Toronto.

I have about 150 poems published worldwide.

I have been a columnist twice and just accepted a third posting.

I have been a freelance writer and have dozens of articles written for magazines, webzines, newspapers, newsletters, etc.

I have several short stories published.

I have done radio work, both for third parties and for myself. I've written commercials and I've written and recorded my own memoir.

I have served on the board of directors for my local writing circle (300+ strong) and I have been on the founding board of directors for the Ontario Writers' Conference since its inception in 2007. I have been a part of the organizing committee for said conference since we created it. We will be having our 5th conference this coming Friday and Saturday.


_____________________________
Note--NONE of the above is to be taken as bragging or showboating. I'm just showing you that I take my writing EXTREMELY seriously, even though I do not consider it--OR ANYTHING ELSE--my career.

I don't have a career. I have a family. I have dear friends. I have a community that I love to serve.

I write for fun. Something to do to pass the time and touch the wondrous while doing so. Writing is a miracle, in my eyes, just as every other form of creativity is.

I have NO time for the word CAREER.

That is all.

KTC
04-29-2013, 10:15 PM
I'm with you, jclark. I'm in this for the career. I've written 5 novels so far, only one has been published to date.

You're a gorgeous writer. I have no doubt you will have follow-up novels. Your debut was lush! People should check it out!

lolchemist
04-29-2013, 10:29 PM
I'm not sure which category I would fall in since I have several books I would like to finish and sell. HOWEVER I NEVER want to quit my 'REAL' job and call myself an 'author' as a job title. So I think I don't want book writing to be my career, I just want the luxury of being able to write and sell books while I'm also doing my real job. Which...I hear is pretty easy from all the 'don't quit your day job' threads I've seen.

CaroGirl
04-29-2013, 11:06 PM
You're a gorgeous writer. I have no doubt you will have follow-up novels. Your debut was lush! People should check it out!

Aw, thank you, my friend! :)

You know I feel the same about you. EVERYONE buy one of Kevin's fabulous books right NOW!!

Siri Kirpal
04-29-2013, 11:17 PM
Sat Nam! (Literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

I'm with KTC: my life is my career. (Kudos, Kevin, on all you've accomplished!) And yes, I take my writing seriously.

For the record, some of us memoir writers are in it for the long haul, because we also write in other genres.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

KTC
04-29-2013, 11:42 PM
Aw, thank you, my friend! :)

You know I feel the same about you. EVERYONE buy one of Kevin's fabulous books right NOW!!


Thanks SO much! Mutual admiration societies rock. ;-) see you on Friday at the conference gala!

If anyone were to follow Caro's advice--- wait and buy them between May 15-31 when 100% of my royalties from all 3 books will be donated to www.malesurvivor.org Weekend of Recovery Scholarship Fund. :-)

JournoWriter
04-30-2013, 12:02 AM
I have a career as a writer - first journalism, now in public relations. I have no overwhelming, all-consuming urge to write any more. The act of creating words and stories is pretty pedestrian after a decade in daily journalism. What I have are ideas, and what I want is to get them in front of people for posterity. I have enough good book ideas, fiction and nonfiction, to keep me busy for the rest of my life. I want to gain the experience and the knowledge now to be able to produce and publish them.

The project I'm working on now is a labor of love. I don't expect to make a dime, as I'm planning to donate the bulk (if not all) of my presumptive riches to a charity closely tied to the topic. But once I get it wrapped, I'm turning to start Book 2 the very next day. *That* I do want to make money on.

Captcha
04-30-2013, 02:21 AM
I deliberately stepped back from the idea of writing as a career this year when I realized that A) I already have a career, one that pays well and that I enjoy and B) focusing too much on sales/markets/building a name was getting in the way of me writing what I want to write.

Last year I made enough from writing that I could have lived on it, if I wanted to live at a much lower standard of living (like down around the minimum wage standard). I don't. So writing is my hobby, and it's great when my books sell, but I don't deliberately write what I think will maximize returns. I write what I want.

Ruth2
04-30-2013, 02:37 AM
I'm a writer. I write. After I finish this book, I plan to write another. Career? Okay, for tax purposes I'm planning a career. It's not a hobby.

I'm fortunate that I don't have to choose between writing and my day job, so I can write about what interests me. If this current book does well, I'm thinking about a few "same but different" books to follow it. If it doesn't, I can go a different direction. But I can't see me ever not writing.

eleutheria
04-30-2013, 04:14 AM
I'm not in it just to publish the one book, but 'career' still seems like the wrong word for how I approach my writing. I will take it as professionally as I can without losing the joy of writing - that means in terms of how I write, stress (I don't think I could ever write with a deadline, though I am by no means slow) from the 'job' and, well, how life goes.

rwm4768
04-30-2013, 04:26 AM
I want the writing career, but I also have a problem abandoning projects because I'm at a stage where I always feel I can drastically improve what I've already written by writing it again. I have a few stories that are clamoring to be written, and until I get those stories out of my system completely, I'm not sure I'll be able to write anything else. I really have to believe in the books I write.

CJ Knightrey
04-30-2013, 05:54 AM
I have several stories I want to tell. If people like them enough that I can make a career out of it, that's awesome. If not, it wouldn't crush me.

Filigree
04-30-2013, 06:06 AM
I'm planning a career, and I have happily trunked several novels. I mine them for good bits, but the novels themselves are probably toast.

Beachgirl
04-30-2013, 06:22 AM
Career, but I'm not giving up my day job anytime soon. I have six books published so far and every time I hit the send button to submit, I immediately start a new story. I don't make enough to replace the very healthy income and benefits from my daytime career, but I have at least been able to make the payments on my shiny new car with my royalties.

Next goal: the mortgage. :D

jkenton
04-30-2013, 08:01 AM
I can't say "career" because while I have some hopes regarding some level of modest financial success (the writing paying for itself, and maybe a bill or three on the side, for example,) I don't expect to be quitting my benefits-providing day job. If I should reach the level of success allowing me to do so, I shall dance naked in the streets. (Just look for news reports of a small Pennsyltucky town in which people are inexplicably turning into pillars of salt.)

I can't say "book" because I'm not writing a book. The story arc in my head will take at least two or three books to tell, not counting the odd short or novella that rubs up against the central narrative. And there's another arc whispering in the back of my mind, set a generation or two after this one.

In any case, writing this thing has become a lifestyle. It's the scraps of twenty years of daydreams weaving together of their own accord. I couldn't not tell it, even if the only people reading it were some drunks who clicked the wrong button on Amazon.

blacbird
04-30-2013, 08:40 AM
I'm way too late for a "career" as a commercial writer, and the manuscripts I have created seem to have the appeal to the publishing market that a ham-and-cheese sandwich has in Tel Aviv. So I got neither option.

caw

JoNightshade
04-30-2013, 09:08 AM
Both. It was the book I couldn't let go of, the one I kept rewriting and resubbing, that finally got me the agent and the sale. If I hadn't had the passion and the drive for that story, I'd never have pushed myself to learn and grow as much as I did as an author. And that was the book I was convinced NEEDED to be published. If I don't have that commitment to my story, why should anyone read it?

But I also make decisions with a career in mind. I'm trying to land a second contract now, which is an interesting balancing act between the next story I want to tell and the story my editor wants to see. The trick is to find a way to do both at once.

One book at a time. All-in. No giving up. And one book plus another equals career.

DancingMaenid
04-30-2013, 09:44 AM
Neither book nor career. Hobby. I write what I write because it is fun and don't really bother with the publishing game. That being said, I don't really offer advice on publishing.

Same here.

In terms of working on a single book/project for a long time...I tend to want to move on after a while more because I get tired if I don't. I have a project right now that I've been working on since...August, I think. And I'm really ready to have it be done. I just like moving on to new things, and it's nice to feel like I've completed projects.

gothicangel
04-30-2013, 11:22 AM
When I do come back to publishing, it will be for a career. Not that I fantasize about writing overtaking the day job. I'm trying to crack into English Heritage, and when I get my PhD I want to work in a university, lecturing and researching. If I could have a second career as a historical novelist too, I'd be a happy bunny. :)

Putputt
04-30-2013, 11:35 AM
My plan was to write first novels of series until one of them got picked up. So I think I may say I'm there for the career, not for any one book. At the same time, I've yet to give up on a book that's made it through the first draft. These books may be on extended hiatus, but trunked? Nope. I don't own a trunk, just a bunny hutch where the new ideas and resting MSS get to do what bunnies do until they're ready for the bunny show, either for the first time or all over again.

This. Exactly. :)

I'm revisiting my first book after parting ways with my agent and rekindling hope that it still has a good chance at being published. At the same time, I'm querying my second book and writing my third.

sarahdalton
04-30-2013, 12:39 PM
Career for me. I would love to call this my profession and earn my living from it. Each day that dream comes a little bit closer.

I have lots of ideas and have already written two complete novels, two novellas, quite a few short stories and two partial manuscripts. Some have been published professionally, some self-published and some aren't good enough for either, but I write everyday so it keeps growing. :)

I know that not many writers are full-time, but it's something I'm going to aspire to. Writing is the only job (and I do consider it a job) that I've ever loved.

Chris P
04-30-2013, 01:21 PM
This. Exactly. :)

I'm revisiting my first book after parting ways with my agent and rekindling hope that it still has a good chance at being published. At the same time, I'm querying my second book and writing my third.

Yeah, I'm finding it hard to just walk away from all that effort. I was going to just write off the PublishAmerica novella, and just keep writing new stuff (which I've been doing! :)) But as it gets closer to contract expiration date (17 more months! Woot!) I find myself wondering if I could give it another look and maybe self-pub a rewrite.

Becky Black
04-30-2013, 03:40 PM
Career. Once one book is done I'm ready to move on to another one. I've usually already got the next one in mind before I finish a current one.

When did I decide this? I'm not sure. As soon as I submitted the first one I started writing another one. That's what the advice was to do, to keep on moving forward - assuming you didn't want to just get that one book published and breathe a sigh of relief and go back to having a social life and enough sleep and stuff. I don't think I consciously made the choice at that point, it was just a case of naturally I'd start writing a new story. That's what I do! (or had been fro the previous six years anyway, before I got around to deciding to go for submission.) The next story was already in my head waiting to get out.

Once the first one sold and I went through the publication process and eventually the release then I had to make the decision a bit more consciously. I would go on writing, whatever happened, but did I want to keep doing the publication part? It's not a no brainer to decide that. Being published can be stressful, and some people find that stress sucks the fun out of writing and don't want to do it. But I decided yes, I was going to continue and a couple of months later I submitted the second one I'd started writing after the first submission. The rest is history. ;)

Racey
04-30-2013, 03:56 PM
Career. I can't see myself doing anything else and enjoying it as much. The heart wants what the heart wants.


Career. Once one book is done I'm ready to move on to another one. I've usually already got the next one in mind before I finish a current one.

Once I finished the final words on that first novel, I was the same. I moved straight on to another. And I had a ton of ideas too, it was like a writing tornado came and swept me off to the land of words and coffee. :Coffee:

Lissibith
04-30-2013, 04:18 PM
I'm another "neither." I write because I want to be a better writer and, maybe one day, write something that I'm not embarrassed by. I've written, edited, finished and trunked several novels and quite a few more short stories, and only queried a few of the short ones (and even the ones of those that got accepted and published I'm still embarrassed by). It's my hope that enough work will eventually give me something I can admit to having written without wanting to hide my face.

kaitie
04-30-2013, 04:40 PM
I think my goal has always been to be a super bestselling author who can actually make a comfortable living from this. No pressure, right? ;)

That being said, at this point, I'll be happy to bring in one decent advance a year. I can live on not a lot, so paired with my day job, it would be great. I could cut back on some hours and have more time to write, which would rock.

I think in part because that's always been my goal, I've just always had loads of ideas. I've always started work on something new when I finished the last. I also don't usually see setting one aside as permanently trunking it. It's just set aside until I have more time to go back in the future and make the necessary improvements.

I guess the way I see it is get it as good as my ability will allow, then move on. If that's not good enough, eventually, as my ability improves I'll be able to improve all those old books as well.

MarkEsq
04-30-2013, 04:53 PM
Career for me. I like my day job but I like writing more. And I have several ideas in my head I don't have time to put on paper.

Is it realistic? Actually, yes. I never thought it would be but I got lucky. Wrote one novel and while agent-shopping wrote a sequel. Found an agent (love love love her) who pitched both books to an editor, who liked them enough to ask for three. One is out and doing decently enough that we're looking to extend the series with another three-book deal, details only need to be hammered out.

Also, getting published can open other doors. I have two opportunities (writing-related) that would never have surfaced if not for being published. (Can't wait to share them here, just too early to do so now...)

JSSchley
04-30-2013, 04:54 PM
I'm with kaitie.

I'm reading the OP's "book or career" distinction as whether the focus and plan is for many books over a lifetime, not whether or not I plan or hope to live off my writing income someday, because honestly, I don't. I have a passion for my work that is just as strong as my passion for my writing. So I'd definitely say "career" but I mean that as in, I'd be really delighted to sell one or two books a year alongside my other work. There's an author I admire in my area (both geographical and literary genre) who does just that—she has a full time job she loves, and she also has released three YA books in the last two years and has contracts for three more.

That sounds about perfect to me.

Putputt
04-30-2013, 06:37 PM
Yeah, I'm finding it hard to just walk away from all that effort. I was going to just write off the PublishAmerica novella, and just keep writing new stuff (which I've been doing! :)) But as it gets closer to contract expiration date (17 more months! Woot!) I find myself wondering if I could give it another look and maybe self-pub a rewrite.

Ha, yes, I don't think I can ever trunk a novel until I've beaten it to death, have it come shuffling back as a zombie, and beaten it to death again. :D Maybe you can get a few betas to give your book a read and see where it goes? Having someone else read my first book was kinda what gave me hope that it can be salvaged.

DragonHeart
04-30-2013, 06:41 PM
I'm career-minded but not career-focused, if that makes any sense. I know realistically writing is not a stable career choice, particularly since I write genre fiction. However, that doesn't stop me from writing, polishing and submitting as many stories as I feel inclined to do. If they sell, they sell. If they don't, well I still have a roof over my head, so might as well move on to the next one. If it turns into a full-time career someday, hey I won't complain, but if and until that happens, it's a cross between a hobby and a side job for me.

Staying with the same story, stagnating, is almost a fear of mine these days. I chalk this up to having too many friends (and an ex-boyfriend) who not only stick to one book/series, spending years and years and writing almost nothing, but also cram every idea they have into it until the story is a terrible mishmash of everything. And they're almost always also the ones saying they want to be writers and drag themselves into self-doubt, loathing and depression as the years pass and they get no closer to their dreams. Seeing that happen time and again has forced me to be very objective about my own perspective on writing.

Polenth
04-30-2013, 07:26 PM
I'm reading the OP's "book or career" distinction as whether the focus and plan is for many books over a lifetime, not whether or not I plan or hope to live off my writing income someday, because honestly, I don't.

That's how I took it too. The issue being when someone states a goal of wanting to write many books, but they're stuck on one. It's only that one they edit, query, requery, change the title of so they can query again, so they never get around to writing any of the other books.

Though I've also seen it happen with series, so I'd say it's more only working on one idea, rather than one book. Sometimes the basic idea is pants, and unless the author moves on and gets some distance, they're never going to see that.

CaroGirl
04-30-2013, 08:06 PM
I'm reading the OP's "book or career" distinction as whether the focus and plan is for many books over a lifetime, not whether or not I plan or hope to live off my writing income someday, because honestly, I don't.


That's how I took it too.
Same.

It's more about long-term attitude toward writing and publishing several books, and learning and growing as a writer along the way, than about the One Big Idea that gets fiddled with ad nauseum.

Patrick.S
04-30-2013, 08:15 PM
My career at the moment is being a Dad full time. That being said, I think writing is an amazing mental outlet that keeps the gray-matter fresh. I would love to make some money off it eventually, see my work in print, the usual writer's goals.

Lyra Jean
04-30-2013, 08:49 PM
Career but my first goal was getting focused. I have a hard time focusing on one idea long enough to finish it. And working on multiple ideas at a time is even harder.

I look at it career-minded now. I have no illusions of being the next Stephen King, Stephanie Meyer, or George RR Martin though.

jclarkdawe
04-30-2013, 09:47 PM
It's more about long-term attitude toward writing and publishing several books, and learning and growing as a writer along the way, than about the One Big Idea that gets fiddled with ad nauseum.

This.

To my mind, someone who spends thirty years skiing, constantly working on improving and understanding their hobby, has something more then just a hobby. But in writing, we also have an external validation of publishing, requiring something beyond my skiing example. Hence I choose the word "career." But what I'm talking about is whether your aim is one book or many. I'm not concerned about how much money you're hoping for, just that money flows to the writer, rather then away from the writer.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

aikigypsy
04-30-2013, 10:02 PM
Both. It was the book I couldn't let go of, the one I kept rewriting and resubbing, that finally got me the agent and the sale. If I hadn't had the passion and the drive for that story, I'd never have pushed myself to learn and grow as much as I did as an author. And that was the book I was convinced NEEDED to be published. If I don't have that commitment to my story, why should anyone read it?


This is similar to where I am. I don't have millions of ideas clamoring for attention, but I do have a few big ones I'm not willing to let go of. I find the whole notion of "trunking" novels very strange (apart from the ones I wrote in high school). I mean, if I'm so committed to an idea that it makes it to a full-length draft, there's something in there I want to see through to the end.

That said, when I finish my current round of "practice" projects and shift back to the big one (or one of the big ones) it's going to be a total re-write from the ground up.

So, I have these projects, particularly one, that I want published, and if that succeeds (meaning that a good number of people read it), then I'll be happy. I also want a career, and will write other things, some of them mostly for the money.

Oldbrasscat
04-30-2013, 10:09 PM
I'd like to at least have the writing support my reading habit and maybe pay for a trip to a con or two. I'd like to be able to continue the stories of some of the characters I've created, so I'm looking at more than one book. And I want to learn and grow and try all sorts of different genres, just for the fun of it.

Okay, to be honest, it's a total excuse for following my whims and reading about whatever catches my fancy.
"Why are you reading about the social structure of 15th century Venice?"
"It's research. Now go away, before you become a villain and have to be arrested or done away with in a completely humiliating manner.":D

kkbe
04-30-2013, 10:18 PM
jcd: But what I'm talking about is whether your aim is one book or many. The thing is, how do you know how many books you have in you? I wrote that first novel and thought that was it. And every time I write one I think, All right, that's got to be it, no way can I do that again. I'm flabbergasted by the sheer volume of some writers--thinking of King and Leonard--it just boggles the mind. Meanwhile, I'm thinking, Let's not get crazy. Write this one, make it as good as you can; if it's decent, see where it goes. If I'm lucky, another idea will come to me. So far I've been lucky but as I said, that well could run dry any time. Feels that way anyway. Like one day I'll wake up in Death Valley or whatever, blank parchment in one hand and ink-clogged pen in the other, going, Wha? :Wha:

CaroGirl
04-30-2013, 10:55 PM
This is similar to where I am. I don't have millions of ideas clamoring for attention, but I do have a few big ones I'm not willing to let go of. I find the whole notion of "trunking" novels very strange (apart from the ones I wrote in high school). I mean, if I'm so committed to an idea that it makes it to a full-length draft, there's something in there I want to see through to the end.
"Trunked" novels are complete. The novel I'm on the verge of trunking (at least for now) has been rejected by every agent in my country and almost every publisher. I either go to agents at another country and start all over again, or I put it away in the trunk, either permanently or for the time being.

What is strange about that? Or does your definition of "trunking" differ from mine?

aikigypsy
05-01-2013, 10:03 PM
"Trunked" novels are complete. The novel I'm on the verge of trunking (at least for now) has been rejected by every agent in my country and almost every publisher. I either go to agents at another country and start all over again, or I put it away in the trunk, either permanently or for the time being.

What is strange about that? Or does your definition of "trunking" differ from mine?

When people say, "trunked," they often say or imply that said projects will never see the light of day again, and, in some cases, that they would be embarrassed by those projects, because their new work is so much better.

I plan to go back to revise the project that got 100-ish rejections (6+ years ago) until it's ready for market, one way or another. That may mean a total rewrite and probably also a different approach to marketing it, or at least a new-and-improved query letter. I'd say it's on hold.

My sense of "trunking" was that it meant a permanent retirement. Maybe I'm wrong about that.
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