I’ve written before about the realistic chance for a writer to get much money from writing. It’s all very true but it’s also a bit depressing.
This week, I thought I’d turn my thoughts to some of the more rewarding aspects of being a writer. (Introverted writers might want to look away, right now, as some of these are quite bouncy events – but there is plenty in this list that those less inclined to swing from the rafters will still enjoy.)
I’m not bored. Not any more. Writing, it seems, is interesting to people. Other writers interest me, even though I know they’re pretty much exactly the same as anyone else I’ve ever met.
Here are just some of the fun things – or, at least different (some of these were downright terrifying) – writing has enabled me to do.
- Meeting other writers, including those I look up to. Shall I admit to who I fan-girl squeed over? Okay – it was Pat Cadigan. I met her at my first convention, along with lots of other writers, and it was fantastic to do so. Finding myself on a panel with her and Joe Abercrombie was pretty immense. Terrifying, but mostly just immense. (I also went totally fangirl over Jacqueline Pearce at a Comiccon I was working. Because, you know… Servalan…)
- Coffees. It’s true. Writers have them a lot. I’ve met so many people in the last couple of years. Interesting people. People I have writing in common with. It’s like a whole new extended friends list. Speaking of that….
- Communities. Being involved in writing communities is fantastic. I’ve been on the radio (and it looks like I will be again), I have a photoshoot coming up, I’m heading to Dublin for readings and panels with around 50 other women, all on the Enterprise (be feared, anyone travelling on the 11th March). I’ve done readings, mass readings, all sorts. It’s been great fun.
- Experiences I never expected to have. I’ve been on the telly (although not live – that might come another time. Who knows?) On the radio. In the Belfast Tele, for heaven’s sake. And a national Sunday newspaper. Photographers came out and shot pictures of me. They took pictures of my kids and husband. It was huge fun (and not to be taken seriously).
- Podcasts! In America! And closer to home. Sitting on my sofa and not even having to move! So much fun (podcasts are a real laugh to do.)
- Panels and conventions. I can go to a convention and claim it as a legitimate business expense! Sorry, just read that again – I can go and talk sff, tax-free. Excellent fun, all round!
- Bookstore events. I’ve had a signing table. I’ve had to read. I’ve had my books in the front window. They events have all been tiny but that doesn’t matter – because they were fun!
- Writing retreats – in my case, a week at the John Hewitt Summer School, talking to writers, attending talks and shows and music. Drinking white wine as the light dipped and it got cold. Walking across the beautiful Armagh to do a workshop on writing (although that hill! That hill! I still grimace in advance of it). I mean, how fab is that? Other writers I know have gone on residencies all over the world.
That’s it, in a nutshell – a short and very, very sweet message. You might not get paid much – in fact, bank on that. But you’ll get opportunities you don’t get normally. Take them and enjoy them, even if you shake with nerves through them. They’re part of your gift for being a writer.