When I was at the Continuum (Speculative Fiction) Convention in June, promoting my novel Incite Insight, I was on a panel with Steve Cameron, who by everyone’s measure was a successful writer. He’d had about 30 stories, scripts and articles published, had great reviews, won some major awards and been shortlisted for others. He’d been regularly published in major magazines and anthologies. In short he was someone people like me are envious of. His success was daunting and here I was sitting next to him (feeling a little out of my league) on the appropriately themed panel of “writers and doubt.” Like me he had a day job as a teacher.
During the panel Steve casually mentioned something that raised my eyebrows:
“I make about $300 to $350 a year from writing. It’s enough to keep me in teaching.”
I recall a few jaws dropping when he said this. I mean he was a success and that was all he earned? What hope did the rest of us have of making a profit? But this served to remind me that the reason why I, and the reason why nearly all writers write, is because they have to. It is an urge that we have to satisfy. Simply put, I don’t write for money or glory, I write because I want, and well, need to.