For the first time in my life at the beginning of 2022, I was able to introduce myself as a professional writer. It sounded odd at the beginning of the year, and here in September, it still seems strange. I can tell you this after meeting some people on Sunday at Boise Pride.
My Bride has a penchant for talking to strangers. She’s not one of those weirdos who just talks to everyone. That’s typically reserved for friendly grandpas and other oddballs who find it interesting to speak to EVERYONE in public. I’m not saying they’re automatically attention-seekers, but they sure have a need to talk in almost any social situation.
Mai is good at talking to people that come into her orbit. If she’s sitting next to you at some public place or standing in a line right next to you, chances are you will end up talking to her. She’s just that friendly and she’s genuinely interested in people enough to ask a few polite questions or chit-chat about the shared situation you both may find yourselves in.
Such was the case at Boise Pride 2022. We decided to attend on the main day with the big parade, as we typically do. We love Pride, and having a gay daughter has solidified our commitment to attend each year. Plus it’s just a lot of damn fun. Talk about a fun, loving, friendly party amongst like-minded, kind-hearted people. They truly always feel like family.
Mai and our girls opted to sit on the curb near the end of the parade route when we arrived Sunday morning. I chose to stand behind them. It’s easier to photograph more pictures of the parade, which I was looking forward to posting in my blog about attending Boise Pride 2022. You should check out the blog here, it’s full of wonderful details and many awesome pictures.
The lady sitting to her immediate right told her that nobody was sitting there, and away they went. Mai and the nice lady were likely around the same age and they quickly started some friendly chat back and forth. At some point, the woman that was with the woman Mai was talking to mentioned that she was a writer.
Mai: “Oh, my husband is also a writer!”
Lady, looking up at me, “Oh, that’s so nice!”
Me, looking awkwardly around for a real writer, “Um, yeah. Thank you.”
Neither of us asked the other about what type of writing we did. Nobody continued the conversation past that point. I was ready to explain how I started writing at the beginning of the year as a content writer but quickly changed course to be a full-time daily blogger, which was much more fun and fulfilling. Yeah, I didn’t get the chance to play that card at all.
After we abruptly ended that conversation and Mai and Ms. Friendly kept chatting back and forth, I started thinking about why I’m so weird about telling people I’m a professional writer. This isn’t the first time I felt awkward about mentioning the fact that I’m a writer and do that for a living.
Many of you have read that I have a couple of other side hustles to supplement the writing income I earn on Vocal, Medium, and to a lesser extent, Ko-fi. The main one that keeps me the busiest is the carpet cleaning business. I do jobs with my buddy Justin whenever they pop up, usually one or two a week. The money is nice, though I’d prefer to be writing.
A carpet cleaning job that we did a couple of months back was for a lady who was a mortgage lender. She knew that I also sold real estate and asked me if I was doing much of that in our hot real estate market. I told her I really hadn’t been, that I’d been focusing on being a writer.
She seemed surprised by this, judging by her expression. Again, I waited to hear her follow-up questions about my writer’s journey and how things were going. I was prepared to discuss the same things with her as I was with the lady from the parade who was also a writer. Once again, I didn’t have to go into detail.
“Oh, that’s really cool.” she politely said. Dead air after that. I got back to work.
I don’t know if it’s that people don’t know how to relate to an actual writer, or if it’s that there’s something odd inside of me that makes me feel as though I’m not a real writer yet. I’m having a hard time pinpointing which of these two scenarios causes me to feel awkward about telling people I’m a writer, at least in person. Maybe both.
It’s easy online. I feel comfortable here in my writer's community. I’ve put out over 250 blogs, articles, and stories in 9 1/2 months. I know that’s well above average for productivity and it feels like very fulfilling work as I’m writing them. I read some of my blogs from a month ago or even a few months back, and they seem well-written and entertaining. I feel that I’m doing well and enjoying being a full-time writer.
But something still seems off about it. Perhaps it’s the income aspect of it. I think that judging someone (in this case, myself) by the amount of money they earn is our main indicator of success in one’s career or job. I know I’ve judged myself in this regard many times over the years. It’s somewhat of an unfair assessment of one’s success.
I’ve earned as much as $25,000 in a month selling real estate. With my small carpet cleaning company, I’ve reached over $3500 in profit in a month. Both of those current side hustles I participate in have earned far more than I’ve reached as a writer at this stage of the journey.
I’ve earned just over $1000 a month during two of the 9 1/2 months I’ve been a writer. Perhaps therein lies the problem, at least in my mind. Until I’m earning as much as when I was a full-time carpet cleaning business owner, this is going to feel like a side hustle. Even if I put full-time hours into my writing. Even if it’s more fulfilling to be a professional writer than anything else I’ve done. I don’t like this feeling.
I need to shake it off. Success isn’t only dictated by how much money we earn. Success is many other things. Enjoying what you do every day for a living seemingly should be number one. Being proud of the work that you do and knowing that people will enjoy it for years after you’re gone, that’s also important. Making the people you love proud of you and your work, that’s also a big one.
I know my Bride is very proud of the writing I’m doing. She loves to tell people that I’m a professional writer and she knows exactly how far I’ve come in these past 9 1/2 months since starting this completely new venture. She’s been happy with the amount of money I’m bringing in from writing, especially over the past two months, even if I’m not satisfied with those amounts quite yet.
I know that by taking the ideas that come to mind each day and turning them into blogs people enjoy, I’m doing very fulfilling work. I take the time I have after writing and publishing a blog or two every day and use it to follow more writers to in turn build my following. I love seeing those numbers increase daily.
More than all of that, I enjoy getting to help other writers that ask for advice or read my articles about writing. Being a coach to the friends I’ve made here is also very fulfilling and something I’m proud of. I need to remember that when I have those times when I doubt myself or worry about my progress not happening quickly enough.
I’ll reach my income goals and targets eventually. By not basing my self-worth only on how much I’m earning from my writing, it will improve my attitude and self-esteem. Months here on this platform can be up and down in terms of earnings. It’s good to show up every day, give it your best effort, and let the stats fluctuate as they tend to do.
Keep writing. Think of yourself as a professional, paid writer. That’s what we are. Whether we’re earning pennies, dollars, or hundreds to thousands of dollars a month, we’re still writers. Even without earning a dime from writing, we’re putting something into this world that never can be taken away from us. We’re creating art through our words. Be proud of that. &:^)