Yesterday, this article over at The Onion invaded my social media world. My poet friends were posting it. My journalist friends were posting it. My adjunct English professor friends were posting it. My part-time librarian friends were posting it. Of course, the article is satirical, but it rings true for writers. If you’re looking to earn a steady paycheck and live life as a real life grown up - with, like, good credit and a retirement plan and without a gazillion dollars of debt - writing might not be for you.
But, I like to be an optimist. I mean, I have to be. I just moved my family across the country so that I could pursue a graduate degree in English. I have to believe there’s hope. And for me, that hope lies in self-publishing. Thanks to the internet, anyone can share their words with the world. Anyone can advertize. There are DIY fundraising options like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Writers like Mia McKenzie of Black Girl Dangerous have exploded onto the literary scene from the blogosphere. Independently published poetry journals and chapbooks are popping up everywhere. Visual artists and writers are coming together to publish their own conceptual magazines.
This is no longer Papa Hemingway's literary world.
So yeah, writers, you might have to wait tables or work as a valet to make ends meet. You might end up on food stamps after getting your Ph.D. But, maybe you'll end up on the Amazon bestsellers list. So write on.