Things I Worry About the Most As a Writer

Can you relate to my biggest writing concerns?

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Here’s a secret that’s probably surprising to none of you: I worry about stuff.

Yes, I write about writing a lot. I have been a writer myself for over half my life. People pay me to arrange words on pages and turn them into stories and it’s a pretty good deal.

But there are still — STILL — things about being a writer that terrify and overwhelm me on a daily basis.

Like, do we (writers) really have total job security when robots take over? And, is the Oxford comma debate really detrimental to our profession? Stuff like that.

But trust me, I worry about some of the same things you do, too. Things like project management, and money, and how to know when a good idea is good enough to pursue.

Welcome to my brain. These are my top (but not even all) anxieties about writing.

Wearing many hats. During my first writing “job,” I learned to do it all. The headlines, the actual writing, the photos, the social media … these are all extremely vital to an online creator early on. Now, I’m still caught up in this false belief that I still have to do everything myself. Like, I COULD hire an assistant to help me run the back end of this blog. But I keep coming up with reasons why I can’t. It’s like there’s some weird satisfaction in being able to say you’re a one-woman operation. I kind of hate that.

Not being able to break into an overpopulated space. I’ve shot down my own ideas for new blogs at least a dozen times this year alone because I worry any idea I have won’t be “original” enough to make a mark. As a health science writer specifically, I’m already precedented by way too many fitness bloggers and diet gurus who have mastered the art of getting people interested in health messages. It makes me feel very small and unimportant sometimes.

Supplemental income. We’re told we should never rely on just one source of income, because “you never know what could happen.” (It’s true: I lost half my client base as a freelancer in 2017 because they couldn’t afford to keep paying me for my work.)

But things change when you have a full-time writing job. Do I still need a secondary income stream? How do I make time for side hustles when I’m already working 40 hours a week? I should feel safe in my current position, but I sometimes still worry.

Waiting too long to do things that excite me. I often find myself caught between this need to jump into things while I’m feeling good about them and knowing it’s not always healthy to start creating spontaneously on a large scale. I hold onto ideas for so long that I start worrying I’ve somehow missed my chance to introduce them to the world. This probably isn’t the truth, but it sure feels like it.

 


Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a 10-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.


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8 thoughts on “Things I Worry About the Most As a Writer

  1. Meg, as an avid reader and question-asker (*giggle), I have another question for you about querying. It’s a long one!

    So, everything I’ve read about querying says that your manuscript must be as good as it possibly can be before you send it off. That you should have it fully edited, beta read, and spell and grammar checked. You sent that manuscript into an agent or an editor for them to decide to publish or reject it.

    Now, if it’s accepted, an agent is going to send it to a publisher for a cut of your proceeds. If it gets accepted… if… chances are it will be re-worked. So, all of the effort (and money) you put into the original draft is tossed aside in hopes that this new draft will earn you more money.

    Am I missing something? It all seems like a big gamble. As an independent, I pay an independent editor to clean up my draft in order to entice an agent who takes the draft I paid for and then, for a cut, sends it to publishers who will rework the whole thing anyway? I’m trying to get a handle on things.

    Thanks again, Meg!!

    1. I’m going to come back to this, because I actually have not been through this process myself. But I want to give you a good, well-researched response. :)

  2. I have a couple of part time jobs that bring in steady income, and I write, self-publish, and put on my promotion hat everyday, and I have done this for a while, but I worry about how long I keep this up, now that I’m in my early sixties…what to cut back on and when.

    1. That sounds like a really tough spot to be in! Letting go of things is so hard. Especially when you enjoy doing a lot of things at once, trying to focus on just a few feels strange. I totally get that.

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