I have finished 32 poems, 47 short stories, Goddess knows how many essays, and 3 novels in my lifetime. Every single one of them a work that I enjoyed doing immensely. So imagine my excitement when I found out that I could do what I love and get paid for it. As a single mother, I was excited to say the least. I wanted to be one of those stay-at-home moms who was there when her kids woke up in the morning, there when they got home from school, there to cook supper and put them to bed at night. I hated the idea of missing out on one small aspect of my children’s lives so writing seemed to be the ideal solution.
It wasn’t until recently, when I decided to be proactive about starting my writing career, that I realized just how much work goes into writing as a job choice.
I had this ideal, this thought, that if Steven King or Gena Showalter, or any of the other authors I love so much could write and make money off of their published works, then I could too. I had a schedule that I followed, a place to write that wasn’t distracting, I had 8 hours out of the day to fill, and I thought I was ready to make a living off of doing what I love.
I went searching. Found several web sites that were free to join and would help me get published in any writing I wanted to do. I started off with freelance writing to get my foot in the door. At first it was easy. The first couple of articles I did seemed to just roll from my mind to my fingers and formed the words I wanted to say on the screen. Then I hit my first bump in the road.
I had done everything this person wanted. That article was flawless. No grammatical errors, no misspelled words, it flowed and had the key words they wanted integrated naturally into the article itself. And yet instead of reading it, they went by the keyword counter and rejected my article. Just threw it out like it was nothing. At first I was devastated, then I was angry. How could they request an article for me to write and then toss it out without reading it?
I kept writing though. Didn’t give up. I searched data bases for articles to write, essays that needed to be typed up. I became an virtual assistant. Still I hit road block after road block. It didn’t seem to matter how much work I did, I could never get over that hump that caused me to be just an average writer on these sites. I was good, the reviews stated that every article I wrote was excellent quality, but because an equal amount of requests were rejected right off the bat without being read I remained in no-man’s land.
My fiance tried to encourage me. He told me to not worry about those who refused to actually read what I was giving them and to focus on just writing. So I did. I would put out 7-8 five hundred word articles in a given day. Still working only 8 hours, I was really moving in my writing. I was making money, not a lot mind you but it was enough to pay the bills and get my kids what they needed on a day-to-day basis. But it really bugged me that I couldn’t get over that hump. My own pleasure writing suffered from my drive and I would write little tidbits here and there in my notebook about where I wanted things to go in my novels, but never actually wrote them out.
Then my computer crashed. I didn’t have enough money to replace it. Living with my grandparents, I thought for sure they would let me use their computer and internet to continue working. I thought wrong. My grandparents didn’t think that writing was a viable career choice. They wanted me to go out and work in some plant in my hometown and stay here for the rest of my life. They didn’t understand my need to branch out in the world and actually make my life and the lives of my children better than what I was raised with. So my eight hours a day was cut down to about 30 minutes.
I can write two articles, maybe, in 30 minutes. I started suffering mentally and spiritually. I couldn’t take it. I had to work, I had to write, I had this drive inside of me to not give up and it felt like I was giving up. I started smoking heavily, which in turn depressed me because I was so close to giving up the habit that I felt like an all out failure. I couldn’t understand why my Goddess was allowing me to be reigned in like this.
So I got an idea. I started sneaking online when my grandparents weren’t looking. Spending a few hours here and there writing. I started using my daughter’s nap time to write instead of using it to search my job apps for steady jobs.
I had the chance to make over $70 yesterday. That chance was lost when the weatherman said there was a 20% chance of rain and my grandparents made me shut the computer down. My insurance payment is due next week and I can’t get an extension since I have already gotten one already. My bank account was so far in the negative that I fear a court summons is going to be coming soon for me to pay those fees. I couldn’t keep the account active anymore. I wasn’t getting paid like I used to.
My grandparents told me, “You will never succeed in writing. You may as well give it up and do what we tell you to do.” My fiance told me, “Just give me a few more months honey, I’ll get the house finished so you and the kids can move out here and get away from there.” My father told me, “Just don’t give up.” My grandmother says that I’m ungrateful and that I should just give up, sign over my rights to my kids so that someone better than me can raise them, and go crawl under a bridge somewhere.
Writing is hard. Living with grandparents who refuse to admit that they are wrong is hard. I don’t know how much more I can take it. I really don’t.