Writing is Always Work – But That’s Good (How to Earn a Career in Writing, Part 4)

Want it? Work for it. Write what and why you want to.

“Consider the creation of an individual human and all the processes and events required for this new person to exist… conscious life as we know it, is just a culmination of a bunch of random separate entities that got what they wanted. So while you certainly can kick back and enjoy the life… you can’t knock the hustle.” – Adrian Sanders, cofounder of Beacon (Hustle Economy, p. 40)

Some of you write professionally. Many of you don’t. There are a lot of people who work extremely hard to use their words to pay for necessities. I’m proud of you. You’re working very hard. You know you are. You feel it in your bones. It kind of aches. But it’s an ache you put up with, because survival is essential.

There are also many people out there who write for fun. I applaud you, all of you. You’re also working very hard, and you don’t even realize that’s what you’re doing.


It’s still work, even when it doesn’t feel like work. Writing a novel? That’s work. Blogging? Work. Poetry? Work. At the end of a long writing session, you feel drained – yet elated. The adrenaline wears off, and you migrate toward your bed – even though you’re extremely proud of what you’ve just done.

Writing, whether you know it or not, is always work. You are creating something out of nothing – a story, a product that could potentially be sold. You are developing a skill you may be able to someday offer as a service to someone who doesn’t want to do all the writing themselves.

It doesn’t feel like work because it’s the kind of work you WANT to be doing. All that effort is so much more likely to pay off, because you’re giving it all you can give – yet you’re having fun (almost).

We all need to work, writing about things that fulfill us and encourage us to create change in the world. I see no reason why we can’t – all of us.

Now you’re yelling at your screen: “This isn’t possible for everyone! Some people don’t have the option to do writing they enjoy!”

Well why not?

Because I’m pretty confident that if you really wanted to – if you were willing to do whatever it took to earn a successful writing career – you’d do it. You’d make the necessary sacrifices.

Surviving in this industry is about doing whatever it takes. Setting aside things that are blocking your way. Making it work, whatever that means for you.

Making time for writing things that matter to you.

Keeping your eye on what your seemingly small, insignificant effort could turn into.

I’ve always said writing is like raising a child. Maybe the baby-making analogy works too. You put in the effort to make something, you give up whatever you need to give up to let it thrive, you just keep working until there’s an outcome, because that’s what hustling is.

But the hard work doesn’t stop when the outcome plays out. What if I’d just stopped blogging once we hit 50 followers? 100? 300? Where would that have gotten us?

Just because you do happen to get what you’ve been working so hard for doesn’t mean you can quit. All your dreams coming true is a sign you should keep up the pace. Keep building upon your successes and learning from your failures.

Whether you write for someone else for a paycheck or yourself for free, writing is work. Make the work good. Interesting. Make it count. Put in the effort. Don’t just sit back and wonder what to do next – get up and do it. Hustle. Even if you’re having the time of your life and it feels easy and you’re not stressed. Keep writing. It’s worth it. Always.

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and a nine-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

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