Guest Post-The Life of a Writer-Christine Amsden (Author of the Cassie Scott series ) | Miki's Hope

Guest Post-The Life of a Writer-Christine Amsden (Author of the Cassie Scott series )

Monday, July 21, 2014


I asked Christine Amsden to give us her thoughts on what it is like to really be a writer-what does it take-here is her VERY HONEST answer to us all! Christine watches the comments so if you have an additional question please do not be afraid to ask it in the comment section below. She loves inter acting with her readers!


The Life of a Writer

So .... you want to be a writer? Are you a dreamer? A story teller? Do you simply love the way words feel when they come together to create a picture? Climb on the crazy train then, and get ready for a long, bumpy ride.

Besides being a writer, I'm also a writing coach. I'm exceptionally good at it for one reason that has come as a surprise to me: I'm honest. Now, I always knew I was honest; what I didn't realize was how rare this quality is, even in a coach. I tell the truth as I see it because only by reflecting both beauty and flaws can I inspire growth in a writer.

With that in mind, let me tell you the hard, cold truth about being a writer. It doesn't pay. The handful of bestsellers out there cluttering up the pop culture notion of what a writer is represent less than one tenth of one percent of traditionally published authors (I'm not even talking self pub here). If anyone has said, “Don't quit your day job,” they weren't trying to be mean. They were trying to be honest.

I didn't listen. :)

I quit my day job ten years ago when I got married, urged by my husband (who made enough for the both of us to live comfortably) to follow my dreams. I took the risk; one of the biggest of my life, and I have no regrets. Children came two years after marriage, filling my days with a combination of domestic and writerly activities that I found perfectly compatible. In a way, diluting my days with a wider variety of activities helped inspire me and make me more productive. I have written six complete novels in the eight-and-a-half years since my son was born (this doesn't include a couple of dead-end projects that were, nevertheless, learning experiences).

Creative work isn't like other types of work. It isn't linear. It isn't easy to quantify. Forty hours of creative work may be enough to write an entire novel draft (under extremely bizarre I-officially-hate-you circumstances), or it may only be enough to learn one important lesson before going back to the drawing board. An inspired writer can take a few stolen hours and create magic. An uninspired writer ... well, that's the problem with the ideal of the “full time writer,” aside from the paycheck thing. Sooner or later you run out of things to write *about*.

That's why I started coaching. It's also why I'm currently looking for creative new opportunities for part-time work. I've got a gig as a judge in a cooking competition coming up soon. Should be fun!

I know a lot of writers. Their stories are all different, their day jobs all unique, but one common theme rings true: We all long for the day when we can write full time, when our income from writing will support us in a comfortable middle-class lifestyle. I think knowing this story so well is one of the reasons why I'm a fan of TV talent shows like The Voice, America's Got Talent, and (most recently) Rising Star. The acts all come on and say the same thing – that they dream of getting paid to perform. To do what they love.

You don't want me to sing, but putting that aside, I understand. I really, really do.

And yet I understand one other thing, or at least, I am working towards understanding. (Self-actualization is more a journey than a destination.) I understand that I am a writer. Fame and fortune are not necessary for us to do what we love. We can do it just because we want to. Because, for whatever reason, these activities fulfill us.

One of the most common interview questions I get on tour is, “What advice would you give to aspiring writers?” I answer, “Only write if you love it.” The full answer is that if you're writing for fame, or fortune, or for any external force, it's not worth it. Writers write because the written word is our currency. It is an end in and of itself.

Between one thing and another, I lost track of that fact in the last year or two. I've taken the summer off from writing. I'm spending more time with my kids while they're still young (6 and 8), working on promoting my Cassie Scot series, and still doing a little coaching. Writing will call to me again, sooner or later. It always does. I've already started to feel the pull of a project that would take me in a completely different direction from anything I've done before. It may pan out. It may not. Luckily, as an independent author I can write whatever I like. No one owns my time or my creativity.

If you want to be a writer, then write. It never even has to be something someone else sees. (Kind of like me singing in the shower where no one else can hear. :) ) If and when it grows to the point where you would like to share it, come seek us authors out on the Internet and join our circles of madness. But if you can, even then, try to keep it in perspective. There is always the dream; we are dreamers by nature, but don't let the dream keep you from living your life now.




All opinions expressed are my own honest opinions. For more information please check my Disclosure Statement. Our giveaways are in no way sponsored or promoted by Facebook.

38 comments :

Tough Cookie Mommy said...

I totally agree that writing doesn't always translate into big payments. I've always loved writing so the financial gain wasn't the sole motivation for me.

Masshole Mommy said...

I like her advice. If you want to do it, do it and don't let anyone stand in your way!

Maria said...

I share her sentiments, write what you love! You can't beat living life to it's fullest.

Sharon Martin said...

To write because you love it and have passion for it to follow your dream does seem like the best advice.

Margarita Ibbott said...

I have to admit, as a blogger, I sometimes think that writing is a lot of work if you don't get paid...that being said, I love to write so I do it anyway. Some days are great pay days others not so much... Great guest post!

Terri | Sugar Free Glow said...

I go through seasons where I just have to write and then other times it's a chore!

Stefany T said...

She is inspirational to others who think about writing as a career! Thank you for this.

Kristal Deane said...

I agree with Margarita, I love to write as a blogger and even though I'm not being paid to do it, I'd still do it because it's what I want to do. This is an amazing guest post! Thanks Christine for sharing your words of wisdom! :)

Scott said...

Glad to hear you're taking time off for the kids in the summer. You'll never regret that decision!

(Terry) My Journey With Candida said...

I am not a writer. Yes, I do write a blog... but in my opinion, you don't have to be a writer to be a blogger. I enjoy visiting blogs like yours that do know how to write, although it does make me wish I could write.

Sam Buck said...

I have a love-hate relationship with writing...it's hot and cold. Some days I struggle, some days it just flows. Oi!

Jenn said...

I love your positive attitude! I never claim to be a writer but instead a story telling blogger. Some days I struggle with what to write but my kids keep me inspired at the moment.

Laura O in AK said...

I've found that honesty gets you much further in many aspects of life than trying to sugar coat things for people. My favorite authors have that ring of authenticity which reflects their honesty.

Theresa Mahoney said...

Good advice. One of my friends writes her own novels and self publishes them. It doesn't pay a lot, but I think she does it for the satisfaction of getting her thoughts on paper. If others like it, great. If not, no big deal. She just keeps chugging along like that.

Christine Amsden said...

Thanks so much for hosting! And thanks for your responses. :)

I think there's something different that drives me to write and drives me to publish. I write because I have to. I publish because ... well, I just love it when readers connect with my stories. I know not everyone does, but they're not the point. :)

Kung Phoo said...

That is a great interview/write up i know a few people who aspired to be writers but gave up cause they had to pay the bills, and i also know another person who became a hollywood screen writer.. i always say never give up on your dreams, but sometimes they need to be put to the side.. glad her dreams are working out for her.

Kristen Campbell said...

She sounds like a neat lady! Thanks for introducing us to her!

Ruth Zankich said...

I agree if you want to write just do it. First do it for yourself. Nobody needs to see it until you are ready.

Annemarie Leblanc said...

The life of a writer is a difficult one, I completely understand.

Amanda Love - Growing Up Madison said...

I can certainly understand running out of things to write about when you've been doing it for so long. Great write up Christine. So good to know a bit about you.

valmg @ Mom Knows It All said...

The advice "if you want to be a writer be a writer" is sound, and applicable to any dream.

Kendall Rayburn said...

I absolutely love writing - it's so interesting to hear what others think of writing as a job too. You really have to love it!

Stephen S. said...

As long as you keep writing you will keep getting better.

Liz Mays said...

My boyfriend is a writer, and he definitely does it for the love of writing. He sure isn't making any money at it!

Teagan Kearney said...

A great post and an honest portrayal of the reality of a writer's life. Thanks, Christine. Personally I find the process of writing both fascinating and addictive, and don't see how I'll ever quit the habit, no matter what happens!

Dan from Platter Talk said...

Wonderful post, thank goodness for those who are passionate about writing.

Czjai Reyes-Ocampo said...

Love the advice that she gave at the end - if you want to be a writer, then write. :)

Housewife Eclectic said...

I love that you take your summers of! I suffer from writer burn out quite a bit!

Alyssa Collazo said...

This is such a great post, especially for those who love writing!

savannah said...

All of this is great advice. I tried writing once and sadly I was HORRIBLE at it lol Being a dyslexic writer didn't work out to well for me
I love how you say Only write if you love it. I think that can be said for a lot of things in life. Things come more naturally if you love doing it

Teresa McCluskey said...

I love writing, its my way of releasing my thoughts, pain, happiness, etc.. the money does not matter.

mail4rosey said...

Honesty is so important with writing. If people are telling you 'good job' and it's not really...it's no fun at all when the time comes to try and get published. Good for you for being an honest writing coach!

Mama to 5 said...

The most writing I do is for my blog. It is good to follow your dreams sometimes many lead to success!

Sarah-Louise Bailey said...

It must be fantastic to follow your dreams and do what you love. I'm happy just plodding along hoping people like what I have to say. x

Lexie Lane said...

I think everything she described is basically all the things that make up a truly great writer. You certainly have to have the passion!

Rebecca Swenor said...

Christine Amsden sounds inspirational. To love what you do is key to a happy live and happy career. When you enjoy doing what you do it shows in your work. You will than be noticed and admired by people. Thanks for sharing.

Maggie Makris said...

You really have to love writing in order to do it , if it doesn't come naturally then it's a waste of time. Christine, you are inspirational :) Many more successes !!

Marsha Thalleen said...

That advice stands true for so many things. I work a job that I dislike because it funds a life that I love. Thank you Christine.

 
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