It’s no secret that I have taken a rest from WordPress since last December. There are times one has to step away from the screen and find themselves, a process that can’t always be in our writing.
In my case, I have had to step back and ask myself what my goals and ambitions as a writer are. Do I keep up a Twitter account to promote my work? Do I write for Medium? Do I try to find work on Upwork? Should I try my hand at Transcribeme? Should I keep writing articles to submit to other publications? Maybe I should try ghostwriting? Or should I just focus on my short stories and novels and hope to grow patrons as the years go by? These are all valid questions, considering writing is hard work (don’t let anyone tell you otherwise) and takes up a lot of time. Where do I place my priorities?
I can’t speak for every writer, but I hope I can give some thoughts that ignite the wiring in your brains into deep contemplation.
The Noise of Twitter
I have pretty much given up on Twitter. It brought out the worst in me. People have unequivocally told me that the platform is necessary for promoting your work as a writer. But I have my doubts. Twitter should be renamed to Screecher, as it’s not so much the tweeting of little songbirds, but the screeching angry hawks. Whether it’s mean words (which I was guilty of sometimes) or trying to promote your work among millions of other writers, it’s an all-around noisy platform. I acknowledge that Twitter has its place, and maybe I’ll return to it, but for the time being I have no desire to.
The Joy of Medium
Medium is competitive too. I don’t get nearly as many claps as I would like. It can also be maddening to see writers who are no more than superficial and simplistic thinkers, fools who speak like they are wise, get thousands to tens of thousands of claps, while the deeper thinkers who can comprehend and see the issues of life from many different levels get ignored. Sometimes I feel like Medium isn’t a place if you want to be analytical. Though my understanding and perception about the ways of life are greatly limited, I have tried to think deeply about issues facing us, only to have very little feedback. Of course, I think most people favor extremism on either side, rather than moderation and balance.
So, for the most part, instead of writing about deep issues on Medium (though I have once in a while), I have focused more on writing about art and video games. And though I haven’t gotten loads of claps (at least not from strangers) on my articles, I still find a joy in having my own two publications, Reflections in the Portrait and Philosophical Gamer.
Granted, though it’s competitive like Twitter, at least I have more room to express myself. These two publications have helped me to understand more about why I love art and video games. Therefore, darn straight I’m going to keep up with Medium, even if I don’t have a lot of followers.
Trying to Advertise Myself on Upwork
Oh, how it would be wonderful to land a freelance writing job easily. But I have found that it’s easier to think of being self-employed as a freelance writer than it actually is to find a job. While fishing out in those open waters of the Craigslist, I have often felt a bite only to have my catch swim away. Then again, there are some real bottom feeders on Craigslist, so perhaps it’s for the best. But it can still be discouraging.
Still, if I’m going to have a client get away from me, I might as well fish in reputable sites instead of the polluted waters of Craigslist. However, in order to do this, I must be a salesman, able to advertise myself, and I have no idea how to promote myself. Sure, I can have all the skills and qualifications, but if I don’t know how promote myself, how can I find work?
“Youl would be a good transcriber,” one of my friends told me. But would I? He had recommended TranscribeMe. I thought, sure, why not? Writing down what people say. How hard can it be? Especially online where you can slow down and pause a recording.
However, I found the exam to get into TranscribeMe as maddening and stress-inducing. The idea of putting all my time into an examen and then wait to see if I passed it or not is just too much. I’ll pass.
I have submitted articles before, such as opinion pieces like this one. Still, I’ve had articles that I’ve put a lot of time, effort, and research into turned down before, too. So, while writing can get your name out there, there is so only so much room in publications that people are competing to get into and even online publications are competitive.
On the surface, ghostwriting sounds easy. Write well and get hired. But finding someone trustworthy to ghostwrite for is a whole other challenge. Sure, I’ve been paid for ghostwriting before. But there have been many more times in which clients have flaked out on me, disappearing like ghosts in the night, even when I tried to work with them and their schedules.
Focusing on my Novels and Short stories.
So far, I’m finding what’s most enjoyable for me is focusing on writing my short stories and novels, and earning money from patrons who support me. Though I don’t have a lot of patrons on my Patreon account, I have a few who believe in my vision of self-publishing a book, and many other friends who are not patrons, but who are highly supportive of my talents.
A Lot to Consider as a Writer
So, there is a lot to consider as a writer. Writing takes time, and the days are so short. Where does one put their time and effort? There is certainly writing for enjoyment* and writing for profit. Most of us want to make a living writing. But to make a living as a writer takes years. Is it best to focus on practical writing, such as ghostwriting and the writing of articles or academic papers, or is is better to follow one’s heart and work on their fiction? Either way, how much time should be spent on self-promoation using Upwork and Twitter for each? It’s a question I stil haven’t found the answer to.
* I use the term enjoyment lightly, considering that even writing novels, short stories, children’s books, and even poetry can still be a lot of work