Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Why writing isn't as easy as it may seem

The other week I was having a conversation with someone who scoffed at me and derided my assertion that being a writer isn't as easy as it might seem. I wasn't saying that I dislike what I do, just that it's sometimes very difficult to be a writer.

That writing is a difficult and often unrewarding occupation isn't just an idle opinion. There's plenty of evidence to show that it's a job that simply doesn't pay the bills. According to research by the Authors Licencing and Collecting Survey, the median income for all writers is just £4,000 per year, and the average for professional writers has fallen to less than £12,000. This means than these days only a tiny select band of writers are making enough from their trade to cover their costs of living. 

Several years ago I started writing as Another Angry Voice as a hobby, never imagining that it would ever become popular enough for me to earn an income from it. It's only in recent months that I've decided to throw myself into it on a full-time basis and hope that I can gradually raise enough small donations to cover my modest costs of living. Despite the fact that I'm not yet meeting my costs of living through my writing, I'm doing a bit better than a huge number of people who have similarly dedicated themselves to their writing, so that's something to be very grateful for.

One of the things that has made it even more difficult for me is that I'm absolutely determined to do it on the Pay as You Feel principle instead of blathering my blog in Google Ads and sponsored clickbait links. Given the traffic that my page attracts now I have no doubt that I could make more than enough to get by through revenue from adverts and sponsored clickbait, but as an advocate of heterodox economics I'd be a total hypocrite to do it that way. If even advocates of heterodox economics like me end up reliant upon orthodox ways of raising revenue, then what hope is there that things could ever be different?

One of the other things that makes my writing so difficult is that I have chosen to write about often appalling subjects like politics and economics, meaning that I'm more often than not writing about my dissatisfaction with the way things are.

As much as people who only know me through my political writing may think of me as a permanently disgruntled person, I'm not. I have a great appreciation for the finer things in life to rival my passions for freedom and social justice. Just today I walked through a field of buttercups and clover with my two kids and put up an enormous cloud of butterflies, the like of which I've never seen before. Sometimes I want to write about things like that rather than important issues like corruption, injustice and extremism, but then I understand that people follow my work for my political analysis, not for a load of flowery prose about how beautiful my bit of the world sometimes is, despite the fact that it's ruled over by a pack of malicious, incompetent and over-privileged Tory politicians and the ruthless profiteering corporations that they serve.

Sometimes, when I'm in the groove, the words flow out of me so effortlessly that it is an absolute joy to write about politics and economics. However I often find myself battling to construct every single sentence, and resenting the hopelessly biased political coverage and mind-numbingly dry economic texts I have to wade through in order to back up my assertions with facts and evidence. Sometimes I'd rather be reading something beautifully written and inspirational, or perhaps trying my hand at literature or poetry.

I really don't intend this to be understood as a whinge. It really isn't. I know I have a brilliant job, and I get an immense amount of satisfaction from a well constructed article or a widely shared infographic. I get the most satisfaction of all when people write me messages explaining how my writing has actually changed their lives. What better reward could I ask for than the knowledge that there are people out there who I've never met who want to thank me for informing and inspiring them?

It's just that having a great job is absolutely not the same thing as having an easy job.

 Another Angry Voice  is a "Pay As You Feel" website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.






MORE ARTICLES FROM
 ANOTHER ANGRY VOICE 
                 
Why you might well be more political than you think
                                       
Recommended Reading: Heterodox economics
                
What is ... the Pay as You Feel principle?
                         
We need to talk about cyber bullying
                        
How Ed Balls' austerity-lite agenda ruined Labour's election chances
           
The Tory ideological mission
                     
How the Lib-Dems were just as compassionless as the Tories
                                
Don't read this article
  



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