Writing Is Hard

And not just because I’m bad at it. I’m sure that writing is a good deal easier when a person is not particularly bad at it, but even in the best case scenario I suspect it’s at least a little bit haaaaaaaarrrddd.

Oh, the actual writing part of writing is simple enough, most of the time. At least the way I do it (again, badly). But writing as a profession seems to have been made intentionally and unnecessarily difficult.

Mostly because everyone hiring writers fucking hates writers.

Small businesses are looking to pay approximately nothing, and most of the orders that come across my desk amount to writing “I hate myself” over and over until it becomes true. If you break things down to an hourly rate, most prospective clients seem to think writers should be earning less than minimum wage. Those jobs wind up going to people who don’t speak English, but it takes minutes upon minutes to clear them out of my inbox.

As an alternative to writing by commission, one could always write short stories for submission to literary magazines and anthologies, but the apparatus by which this is done has been designed specifically to sap authors of any joy or motivation. In many cases you’re expected to submit to only one publisher at a time, then wait three to six months to hear back. You end up spending as much time shopping your work around as you did writing it. You’ve got to keep as many balls in the air as possible, because the one you tossed up in April has a 20% chance of being September’s rent.

“Aha!” You say, “I’ll just write a great novel, and make my millions in one fell swoop!”

But writing a novel isn’t about writing a novel. If you ever do finish your manuscript (good luck to you), the next step is to do everything I complained about above with regard to short stories, with the added bonus of being paid less. New authors don’t sign lucrative deals and rake in the royalties. You sell your book for a flat rate—maybe enough to live for three to six months while you write and sell your next one.

Which is why I settled on being a freelance Internet writer, or whatever I am. I can find new work to do every day, provided I hate myself, and I do so it actually works out rather well.

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