Daily Discussion with BQB – What’s the Best Way to Make a Living as a Writer?

Hey 3.5 readers.

I’m asking the above question, not as it applies to most people, but to me, your old pal, BQB.

I’ve been working on a novel about an alligator who eats people on the toilet for over a year now.  The first draft is done.  The second draft, I think, could be done within a month, two at the latest.  It will need a third draft, I can already tell.  Earliest I can get it to the editor will be May – June.

Then it’s a whole process to get it edited and ready for publication.  Basically, if it gets up by Christmas that will be a win.

In short, it’s taking a long time.  I’m not sure at this rate I’ll be able to make a living as a writer.  Perhaps if Toilet Gator rakes in a modest amount of dough, that will give me the incentive I need to work harder, crank out another book faster.  There are a lot of people in my life who impose on me to drop whatever I’m doing to help them with their mundane bullshit.  If I can point to a piece of paper that proves I’m not just screwing around on the computer but am engaging in a money making side business, they’ll figure out how to live their lives on their own and get off my ass.

Anyway, long story short, I am wondering if perhaps I need to move away from novel writing and into just general blogging and opinion writing.  Sometimes I feel I’m at my best when I rant on a subject.  Blogging is conducive to the limited free time I get.  It takes nearly 2 years to get a novel out there, but I can get a post daily.

The issue would be is that I’d probably have to stop talking about pop culture and, sigh, news and politics.  Rant and rave about things going on in the world.  Actually pick a side and sigh, lose 50% of you because that’s what happens when someone expresses a political opinion.  I’m not saying that politics were ever peaceful, but I do feel up until like 2005, people were able to agree to disagree.  Now social media allows people to retreat into their bubbles and point fingers at, “the other.”

Eh.  I don’t really want a bunch of people to hate me.  I’m too adorable for that.  I might split the difference and try to rant about general life topics that you’d think everyone could get behind.  One of my heroes has long been Dave Barry, the humor columnist who is basically the Godfather of humor opinion piece writing.

He wrote humorous thoughts about everything from home improvement, to love, to just generally crappy little things that drive us all crazy.  I could probably do that, though the only thing I worry about is Dave found success during a more innocent time, whereas I could write something like, “Men, don’t you hate it when your wife yells at you when you forget to put the toilet seat down?” and end up getting a twitter campaign to label me a vile male chauvinist pig or something.

To express any kind of opinion these days, even a seemingly safe one like, “My word, what lovely weather to day,” is to risk offending someone so…I don’t know.

I think I’ll keep plugging away.  The first part (roughly 40,000 words) of the Last Driver is in the editing process now, and I’ve come too far on Toilet Gator to quit now.  So, I’ll see if Toilet Gator gets me anywhere and see where I am next year.

Just saying, at some point, I’ll need to turn a profit or quit, realize this is a young man’s game and it’s not my fault the world didn’t invent the gatekeeper bypass technology until I was an old bastard (people seem to be declared old bastards earlier and earlier now) and just go smell the roses and lie down in the grass and wait for the moss to grow over me.

Thanks for listening to my rant 3.5 readers.  If you wanted the short version its, do I a) keep novel writing b) change gears to write opinions and try to monetize the blog or c) just give up and smell roses.  Why does everyone smell roses?

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5 thoughts on “Daily Discussion with BQB – What’s the Best Way to Make a Living as a Writer?

  1. Dakota Kemp says:

    I like your humor writing, BQB, so if you want go full comedy-columnist be my guest. But I’ll be the first to say that you should write what you want to write, whatever that may be. Don’t play to what you think will make more money. Then you’ll just hate writing like you would a normal job. If you don’t enjoy the process or feel like you’re making a difference with the content you produce, then the money won’t matter anyway.

    • What’s up Dakot-a-rama. So, I was going to write a long response but I recently saw a clip of the old movie, “What Happened to Baby Jane?” that I think explains my point. The set up? Two washed old actresses that used to be popular are played by, ironically, two washed up old actresses who used to be popular. Bette Davis, in her youth, was a Shirley Temple type character as a kid. In the film, now in her 50s, she slathers on makeup and a dress that’s way too young looking for her and she sings a youthful song about a kid who misses her daddy who has died.

      Do I have a point? Yes – pursuit of a fame is a young person’s game. There’s a finite number of years to get it and then after that, you have to resign yourself to the life you’re at, lest you end up an old lady embarrassing herself.

      So, I think I just convinced myself to quit! That’s it! I’m outta here!

      • Dakota Kemp says:

        If you’re after fame and you don’t enjoy the writing or telling of stories, then yeah, it might be time to quit. But if you just want to be able to support yourself through something you love…that you can totally do by writing what you want to write. There’s an audience out there for most everything. (Believe me, my books are pretty niche.) You might have to tighten your belt a bit, but supporting yourself through writing niche fiction has never been more plausible. Write what you love to write, BQB, whatever that may be. You can do it!

      • Mainly I want all my enemies to be depressed over me becoming a millionaire from writing a book about an alligator who eats people on the toilet

      • Dakota Kemp says:

        A worthy goal, to be sure.

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