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Thursday, October 2, 2008

Become a Writer in Troubled Times?

New Life by jtloweryphotography Creative Commons
So the economy sucks and everyone is running around like Armageddon just knocked and said howdy. How do you take those lumpy little lemon shaped rocks and stop from beating yourself in the head with them?

If you just lost your job, or your house was foreclosed on, or you just don't know where your next tank of gas is coming from - those are terrible, scary things.

But if the worst has to happen, maybe you can take a shot at that crazy, low-paying dream of being a writer (or whatever other profession you once lusted for). If you have nothing left to lose, there's power in that. Arrange your new life to cost as little as possible, and for a year, follow your dream. Simplify.

I'm not saying you won't need a day job, but maybe you can take a position that doesn't suck up all your time and creativity. Then create something before you go back to supporting the house and the 2.5 cars. Stop living that life of quiet desperation.

Write the book. Send out query letters to magazines. Tons of news outlets would love essays from people suffering through the financial crisis, and I bet they'll be looking for memoirs from people who survive this debacle. Keep a journal of what's happening. How does it change your family? Your outlook on life? Farm out some op-ed pieces. Take a shot.

Then maybe this big sucky thing that happened to all of us can jump start some dreams.

God knows I'm not a Pollyanna. You won't make much money as a writer and you have to want it really, really bad. It may not be for you.

But maybe you'll find out the rewards of following your passion make up for living in a mobile home or apartment instead of a house. Perhaps cutting the cable will give you more time to write and bring your family together. Would we do any of this voluntarily? I wouldn't. But being forced into it gives us options we never thought possible.

What do we have to lose?

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