Feb 8, 2012

Shoes and the Incredible Hulk

by Nikki McBride Spencer

So you are a writer. You write for fun and because you like to tell stories. You have always written as far back as you can remember. But what if you want to actually make a living writing, and the maybe-I'll-make-it-big-one-day dream is fading fast? After all, the kids need shoes. What are your options if you decide not to pursue writing fiction novels for money?

Sure, we all would love to be the next Stephenie Meyers or the female equivalent to John Grisham, but how many of us really will do just that? Some might. Most of us...probably not, for various reasons.

Many of us write because we love it, and not for the potential paycheck it might bring--and that's just fine. There is no good reason NOT to write for fun, if that is what you love.

However, [insert real life here] those last year's sneaker soles keep flapping at you when your kid walks through the door. He's like the Incredible Hulk--you swear you can actually see his toe growing right through the shoe. Your daughter desperately needs a real bed. After all, she's six now and that toddler bed *really* won't do anymore. Hubby's 15 year-old car is still chugging, but for how long?

These are questions that plague me at night, and maybe they needle at you, too.

Do I follow my dream of writing a novel? Truly, fully commit for a year, give it my all and then submit on a hope and the strength of my dream? Can I even finish a novel with my other responsibilities looming? (Three half-done YA fantasies live quite comfortably on my hard drive. I think they are being lazy loafers.) So many rejections stare at me from the doorway of that future. Do I really want to go there?

Or, do I put novel writing on hold indefinitely and pursue other writing professions? Really give it my all and go for it? The financial odds staring back at me look decidedly better than a what-if. I do have some skills as a web designer and copywriter. I do own a small business with big potential marketing to dentists. And even though I wouldn't be writing fiction, I would be writing for pay--and that in itself is hugely satisfying to me.

But what of the book? What of the fantasy characters floating through my dreams? What do I do? What would you do?


  1. Ah the conundrum of balancing my writing aspirations with my role as wife, mother, sister, daughter, teacher, mentor, business owner, etc. For now, I learn and 'practice' my writing when I can--some days it's more and some days not at all. Write on, my friends!

  2. That is a tough one...hmm...I'd say do what you need to so your family is provided for, but don't abandon those dreams just yet. Keep plugging away a little at a time on those fantasy characters’ lives, and one day you will reach the magic 90,000 word mark(or whatever number you are shooting for). Then send out a query or two a week and see what happens. Don’t forget—With God, nothing is impossible!

  3. Here's a possible solution. Take a look at your fiction and see if parts of it can be broken down into one or two short stories. Or do you already have acceptable short fiction written? Put these works up on Smashwords and Amazon as ebooks, and start earning a little cash. Do them singly, as collections, bundled in twos and threes, or put one or two together with another author's short stories . . . the possibilities are endless!

    Can you tell I'm a confirmed indie writer? :-)

  4. That's a hard one. I try not to think about it, it makes my brain hurt.

    In practice, I just keep doing the thing that feels the most right, for now, but I try to be open to what someone higher up wants me to do.

  5. Good suggestions, all. I think I'll try Marsha's ebook thing soon myself. The only advice I give is to make it a matter of ponder and prayer. Know what season of your life you are in. My five children are now in school all day, elementary, high school and college. My season to write novels and fantasies just opened up three years ago. I believe you can have it all, maybe not at the same time, but you can pace it out and have it all.


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