Does a writer have a “real” job?

Well now, there’s a loaded question if there ever was one. For those of us who create and assemble written works, the answer is a non-starter; of course we have. But it seems there may still be many in this modern world who consider authorship something less than actual, gainful employment.

Such a case can be read here, an article about a writer being called, less-than-working, shall we say.

First, I’d like to add that I’ve never personally encountered this, though that is not at all to say that many, many authors both struggling and accomplished do not encounter it, all the time. I think most people who know me are still trying to get over the fact that I am a writer, of anything. I tend to be a private person and when I released my first self-published novel, it was a bit of a surprise to those around me.

The author of article above makes some fine points about the assumptions people make concerning authors, and writing in general. I’d like to add my own two cents at this point, just elaborate a little bit.

One thing the article doesn’t touch on is the fact that any and all full-time authors are self-employed. No company withholding taxes(federal, social security, all of them) for you. No retirement division to assist with 401k, investments, etc.. No one helping pay into your health insurance plan.

Well there’s a trade-off there, right. You don’t have to commute to work every morning, right? Well, everything has it’s trade-offs, exchanging one situation for another. That argument could go on for days.

Currently, I have the distinction, as many others do, of holding both a, ‘REAL’ job, and trying to complete novel-length works that will sell enough copies so that one day, I can support myself and my family solely off those proceeds. Being able to compare them both side-by-side at the same time, I can tell you that absolutely without question, writing is a REAL job. I am just fortunate enough to love doing it. Now if I can just get fortunate enough to get paid enough…


Addition: Incidentally, I do all the things the author of that above-mentioned article does when engaging in leisure time: ie watching moves, reading books.(They wrote that scene wrong. I could have written a better dialogue than that.) And I laugh at myself every time.

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See You in the Future,

J S Eaton

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