There are lots of “writers and …” out there and I bet some of you reading this are, too. Writing is a perilous full-time career for all but a very few people (statistics bandied around about the average annual earnings of writers suggest anything from £1,000 to £5,000) and also I suspect that it’s not what every writer would actually want to do full time (I know I wouldn’t).
I know writers-and-editors, writers-and-carers, writers-and-stay-at-home-parents, writers-and-painters, writers-and-crafters … and hopefully some of them will be along to share their stories some time soon. I’m going to share mine, then it’s over to you!
Which came first, writing or “and …”?
In my case, everything else came before writing. In fact, I only started writing when I had a medical diagnosis and no factsheets to guide me. That’s why I wrote my book about lowering my cholesterol – to help other people who might be in the same situation.
Of course, I’d been busily writing blog posts and the like for a while, so it seemed natural to turn my blog about my first year of full-time self-employment into a book (it’s not actually that easy to just “turn a blog into a book”, it turns out, but I created a book in the end). I then went on to write other books for freelancers, because, again, I didn’t find that much useful information for the type of freelancer I was becoming – and reviewers still talk about these filling that gap in the market, so it seems that writing for yourself can be a handy type of writing to do!
How do I introduce myself at parties?
Well, I don’t go to many parties, but I do tend to introduce myself as an editor, transcriber, localiser, runner, reader … and writer. Hm, maybe if I went about with a bagful of books and touted myself as a writer first, I’d sell more of the things …
Do I feel like I’ve got a double identity?
I do have an actual double identity now. I got married relatively late in life, and I’d already written several books under my unmarried name, Liz Broomfield. So I decided (mainly because I was too lazy and mean to get all the covers and uploaded versions changed) to stick with Liz Broomfield for the author side of things, while becoming Liz Dexter for my Libro business and in the rest of my life.
This has been a bit confusing and led to a lot of explaining (although that’s helped my search engine optimisation, and if you search for Liz Dexter on Amazon you do find most of my books anyway), but it felt like the right choice at the time.
I also have three blogs – Liz Dexter’s Libro one for my “professional” blog (by which I mean by editing, proofreading, transcription, tips, business ideas etc. blog and website), a book review one which is also Liz Dexter-based now, and this separate one for my books. Again, I’m never sure, to be honest, whether that was a good idea, but it’s done now!
How do I fit the two sides of my life in?
This is a tricky one – I’m notoriously bad at setting aside time for writing. When I do, I usually book out a few solid hours for book work. Unfortunately, what I like to refer to as “paid work” does come first, so I have to work hard to carve out those few hours. I could do better with this, and I’m considering booking a week of “holiday” with myself and my clients to get some projects finished.
How has writing affected my other job?
I work with writers in a lot of my “day job”, and I can honestly say that the writing and particularly editing process, and the fact of being out there in the world as an author with books to sell, has had a big positive effect on my work. Being edited is hard, and having been through the process (with a lovely editor, I hasten to add) made me make a big effort to be super-kind in my own editing work – I know how disheartening it can be to have your work pulled apart, however kindly and necessarily. If I could say one thing in this blog post, it would be that.
Would I prefer to be doing one or the other?
In my case, I can honestly say no. I am trying to do some research as well, and sometimes I wish I could ONLY do that for a bit, but I don’t think I could sustain a full-time writing life, and I like the contrast between writing for my blogs, writing my books and doing the other stuff I do.
Over to you!
I’d love to know what the “and …” is in your life! Why don’t you drop me a line with your answers to the questions, and I’ll publish the best of them on this blog. I’d particularly like to know how you manage the two sides of your working life, as I know I’m bad at that!
Here are those questions again:
- What do you do apart from writing?
- Which came first, writing or “and …”?
- How do you introduce yourself at parties?
- Do you feel like you’ve got a double identity?
- How do you fit the two sides of your life in?
- Would you prefer to be doing one or the other?
Don’t forget to include a portrait of you, if you’d like one displayed, and the URLS for your website and book links.