IWSG: What's a "Working Writer"?


 It's the first Wednesday of the month, and that means IWSG posting! 

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

The awesome co-hosts for the October 7 posting of the IWSG are Jemima Pett, Beth Camp, Beverly Stowe McClure, and Gwen Gardner!

Every month there is an OPTIONAL question. This month's question:

When you think of the term working writer, what does that look like to you? What do you think it is supposed to look like? Do you see yourself as a working writer or aspiring or hobbyist, and if latter two, what does that look like?


Well, that's a fine question to ask as I struggle to keep myself convinced I'm a writer at all! Seriously, though, I think it's very relevant, and I have multiple answers.

On one level, I think of a "working writer" as someone who is  writing full-time, maybe making a living at it. That's a pretty narrow selection of people, and I imagine someone who approaches the work like a regular job, with the discipline to sit down and write at set times and to work on writer-stuff for a full work day. 

But I have another take on it I like better. In that one, many more of us are "working writers," because it looks like this: someone who writes or works at writer-business pretty regularly. Maybe not every day. Maybe it's only on Saturday nights, but it's something they prioritize and do routinely. In other words: anyone who is working at being a writer.

By that definition, of course, I'm a working writer, which is a better description (or one I like better) than "aspiring writer" (a term I really dislike; "aspiring" suggests to me someone who is thinking about it and wishing they were a writer, in which case... nope) or a "hobbyist." The latter comes closer to describing those of us who don't rely on our writing income, but it doesn't feel right, either. For me, watercolor is a hobby--I do it purely for my own pleasure, and would certainly never expect anyone to pay for the results. Writing is something more.

Maybe I'll put it this way: I pay taxes on my writing earnings not as a "hobby", but as a business. If the IRS says I'm a working writer, good enough for me! (For the record, the distinction does have to do with making money. I think you have to turn a profit 3 years out of 5 or some such. I've yet to lose money two years in a row, so I'm still paying self-employment taxes).


Okay, that was fun. So what about my writing? 

Well, I've been traveling again, and I'm still struggling with the focus issues that seem to come with grief and loss, so the writing hasn't been impressive. But aside from nights in the backcountry (backpacking) and a couple of reallllly long driving days, I've been working on Death By Donut every day. Maybe I just do edits on a couple of paragraphs, but I do something, and I'm working my way through it. 

Apropos of that... I'm hoping to have an edited draft by the end of the month, and will be looking for beta readers. If you are willing to help out, let me know. The book is the 5th in then Pismawallops PTA cozy mystery series, and I'd love to have at least one beta who hasn't read the other books, so I can find out if it works for new readers.

No short stories or submissions this month. But I've put over 5000 miles on the new car since the start of September, so maybe that's no surprise?

Here I am, working on the edits in camp at Great Basin NP:


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