Wednesday, October 7, 2020

IWSG: Tales from a Working Writer

Our Insecure Writers Support Group question for October is a good one: 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 the latter two, what does that look like?


When my mom asked me what I was going to college to become, I told her I was already what I wanted to be: a writer (of dozens story bits and pieces), and my English major and Communications and History minors would make me a better, more rounded one.

When one of my English professors saw me years later at a local craft show selling stuffed children’s toys, she recognized me as one of her former students and drawled, “So THIS is what you’re doing with your college education?” I told her rather sheepishly that I was also a writer, to which she replied with contempt, “That’s nice.” After I got home, I got mad, marched into my writing area and announced, “That’s it. I’m finishing a book and selling it.” 


Well, that first book, a hefty, hand-typed tome that did get one request, didn’t sell, but it validated my claim to be a working writer. I wrote four more complete manuscripts before submitted the best of the lot. It sold. I got a request for MORE and sold another of them on a multi-book contract. And all the while, I thought to myself, “THAT’s what I’m doing with my college education!”

A working writer is someone who can’t not write. It’s not a chore – it’s a necessity! (Well, sometimes it’s a chore! See: childbirth, sickness, 8-to-5 job, kids’ schoolwork, moving x 4) A writer is someone who never sees what they’re doing as a waste time. I wrote my first six books long hand while my youngest played in the sandbox, received my first two covers while in the hospital after the birth of son #2. Wrote during nap time, school hours and finally at 4:30 a.m. every single morning because that path of least resistance to family needs allowed me to get my words in. I was still a working writer after two huge industry middle list collapses left me without a publishing house and I had to start over. When our household demanded a second income, I went back into the workforce after a 15-year hiatus and still wrote (see 4:30 a.m. above!). My income supported our family when my now ex was laid off, paid for vehicles, a garage addition, hot tub, and vacations. Divorced and working full-time, it paid for utilities and unexpected needs, and paid for itself as far as promo, conferences, and travel. Now retired, it’s supplementing my Social Security and allowing my Keurig coffee addiction. When someone asks what I do with all my time off, I say, “I’m a writer.” And I’m still working. 


This working writer just released book #70 (!) in August, the end cap of a 15-book paranormal series that kept me happily typing for the past 10 years. 
I’m STILL learning my craft, taking Zoom classes on algorithms, playing in Canva graphics, and even talking to an agent while beginning my next book, a Texas-set romantic suspense, while using an organizing planner for the first time. Writing is NEVER a static occupation. There’s always something new to discover, to try, to get excited about.

I’m Nancy Gideon aka Dana Ransom, Rosalyn West, Lauren Giddings, and I’m a working writer. And I can’t wait to find out more about YOU! 


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!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time.The awesome co-hosts for the October 7th posting of the IWSG will be Jemima Pett, Beth Camp, Beverly Stowe McClure, and Gwen Gardner!

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Twitter hashtag is #IWSG

18 comments:

  1. That's great that you have income from writing that supplements your social security. And you managed to write when you needed to return to working at another job for your family.

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  2. What an inspiring story! As a part-time working mum of two littlies, I know I have to work to find the time to write. It’s good to hear your experience of how you overcame roadblocks and not only did what you loved - but smashed it! Congratulations on book #70!

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    1. Thanks, Emma!! Writing was my mental health break with two little guys at home.

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    1. I just hope she recognized my picture on the front page of the local entertainment section!

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  4. Love the pride in your voice! You have a lot to be proud of, too. I've always admired your dedication to your writing. It sure has paid off. Good luck to you as you find your next project. As always, I'm looking forward to your next book.

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    1. With a LOT of scary ups and downs along with the market. I'm just to stubborn to quit. And have too many stories yet to tell. I'm looking forward to your, too, so get back to it, girl!

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  5. Yesss!!! *applauds* I love your post.

    Your professor's words made me so angry, because I've received comments pretty similar, and they repeated in my head for so long.

    Wow. Book #70. That is amazing! Congrats!

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    1. Even though we pretend not to hear them, those words still echo at the most inconvenient times. That's why we have groups like this one to lift us out of our slumps of confidence.

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  6. We showed them, eh? Love love love your picture with the mug. Well done. :)

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  7. You rock, Nancy! And I have heard of at least two of your other names! So glad you're in the IWSG to lead us by the hand where angels fear to tread, to mash a few sayings together.
    Thanks for your kind words on my blog :)
    Jemima

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    1. Thanks, Jemima! Actually I prefer to support rather than lead but I've always got you!

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  8. OMG, you should have autographed a copy of that first book and sent it to that teacher. AND friend her on Facebook. LOL. But well done and go you!

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  9. People's snark has gotten under my skin more than once (or twice, etc.) I am a pathetically insecure working writer to the point of simply refusing to call it work I enjoy it too much to be forced to justify it with dollars and cents.

    Your way of looking at it is smarter and bolder. I am inspired.

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