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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
TLDR: I have been a starving artist for years, I am the living embodiment of a starving artist

Every time I write I feel sad and depressed. That may also be because of my current financial situation which is terrible right now. Also just the fact that I find it hard to keep writing when I know I’m not making money from writing novels.

Being unable to afford editors, cover artists, marketing services, etc.
 

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The question you have to ask is why bother if it causes you to be depressed? Like with any activity, including full time work, you have to be motivated and happy in what you do to have a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment. If not, then you are living to work in drudgery and not working to live in happiness with purpose. The former is likely to turn the pyramid of life upside down and end up in a downward spiral for anyone to sink into depression.

I guess it's different for everyone depending on priorities, health, and financial position, but first and foremost, I view writing as my hobby and a passion. Making money comes secondary as a realistic expectation. Having the funds to pay for editing, covers and the like is a pain. That's not just because it's hard for many to find after paying for essential living expenses, but also because, the more prolific you are, the more it costs, and with no guarantee of making the investment back.

If it's a passion, you don't need money to publish your work with such as Wattpad, and making Canva covers are all you need on there where you are a member.. You don't need money to submit completed works to literary agents.

The problem with both writing and publishing is that the both of them are two separate activities. The former costs nothing, only your time, and the latter has a cost if you self-publish. If it's money you need to put on the table, then the latter is a gamble and enough to depress anyone. I don't know the figures, but at a guess only 5% of authors make a living at writing novels. I wouldn't even like to speculate on the percentage of self-published authors who don't make their investment back, but I reckon it's a high figure.

It's all about priorities in your life and what would make you happy and fulfilled. Your financial situation could be different in ten-years time if you follow a career rather than as an artist, which by then if you have a passion for writing and treat it as a hobby, you could have at least 10 full works on Wattpad in the bag for when you do have the money.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The question you have to ask is why bother if it causes you to be depressed? Like with any activity, including full time work, you have to be motivated and happy in what you do to have a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment. If not, then you are living to work in drudgery and not working to live in happiness with purpose. The former is likely to turn the pyramid of life upside down and end up in a downward spiral for anyone to sink into depression.

I guess it's different for everyone depending on priorities, health, and financial position, but first and foremost, I view writing as my hobby and a passion. Making money comes secondary as a realistic expectation. Having the funds to pay for editing, covers and the like is a pain. That's not just because it's hard for many to find after paying for essential living expenses, but also because, the more prolific you are, the more it costs, and with no guarantee of making the investment back.

If it's a passion, you don't need money to publish your work with such as Wattpad, and making Canva covers are all you need on there where you are a member.. You don't need money to submit completed works to literary agents.

The problem with both writing and publishing is that the both of them are two separate activities. The former costs nothing, only your time, and the latter has a cost if you self-publish. If it's money you need to put on the table, then the latter is a gamble and enough to depress anyone. I don't know the figures, but at a guess only 5% of authors make a living at writing novels. I wouldn't even like to speculate on the percentage of self-published authors who don't make their investment back, but I reckon it's a high figure.

It's all about priorities in your life and what would make you happy and fulfilled. Your financial situation could be different in ten-years time if you follow a career rather than as an artist, which by then if you have a passion for writing and treat it as a hobby, you could have at least 10 full works on Wattpad in the bag for when you do have the money.
I think it was fun when I was a hobbyist. I have taken steps to deal with my depression with free therapy and free medication, but I guess there are many things I want to do like travel which requires money and a job with free time.

I’m unemployed so I don’t want to complain about free time, and I don’t mind working a part time job temporarily if it means I can get a better job that’s full time later. I worked in fast food years ago and I might have to go back to that industry since the jobs I want aren’t calling me

I suppose my financial and living situation and life is mirroring how I feel about my writing. No progress
 

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Have you thought about seeking a traditional publishing route? Agent, contracts, all that? You might be happier writing, while working a different kind of job to support yourself.

It's something I've considered over the years, as the pressure to be this hyper-successful writer/publisher/marketer has taken hold of many self publishing groups. It's become less about the writing and more about the business, and attitudes you get from some people can really affect the creative juices.
 

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Writing the next books in my Martin Billings series.
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You might want to consider doing short fiction and submitting to magazines. It costs nothing (no covers, no promotion) and you invest less in each story while learning more about writing. Or possibly writing is just something you would like to have done. As Decon suggested, sometimes it's the publishing that is depressing, not the writing, but not always. And I'd even break it down further. Having worked for magazines, I enjoy the production aspects of publishing, but not the marketing.
 

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Hey. First off, hugs.

You're going through a tough time. And it's natural to find creative pursuits much harder when you are going through hard times. Sometimes, you have to stop writing until you get your 'house' in order. Writers don't like to talk about that, and seem to feel like they have to press through and write even in hardship, but there are times when it makes sense to step away from writing to take care of the deeper/bigger issues in your 'real' life. This sounds like one of those times.

I know it's not easy or fast, but it sounds like No. 1 priority is to secure a source of steady income. Using whatever skills or options or jobs are available to you right now. It doesn't have to be the perfect job, but you need some cash coming in to ease the pressure.

Then, once that is taken care of, go to No. 2, which is to add the writing back into your life, and try to turn it into a decent "extra" income. Being a full-time writer is often put forth as the goal, but it's very hard, and it's stressful, and worrying about producing constantly for cash can kill the creative juices. It's less stressful to look at your writing as potentially providing bonus, added income, in addition to your IRL job income. There are many paths to professional author. You have to find YOUR way. And be kind to yourself along the way.

And yes, you can produce books on the cheap. (I am notoriously cheap when it comes to production, because I do not like taking risks. And I only invest in a book once I know it's going to make something.) I spend maybe $50 to $100 per new book. $300 if it's a new book 1 of a new series, and most of that is ads. I do everything myself, apart from covers. Yes, it takes more time, but you either spend time or money, and you have to spend the one you have.

Use pro writing aid and grammarly for edits. Do the best you can. Enlist free beta readers as typo catchers.
Good covers don't have to be spendy. Go On Write sells premades for $15 to $40 and have always been great for me. Others rave about Get Covers. I haven't personally tried them, but they come recommended. And prices are super low!

Hugs.
 

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I echo what others have said. Try going the traditional route. You can find places to submit your writing by visiting sites like Submittable.com or duotrope.com. Not all of them pay, but having short stories or poems published will raise your profile among readers who might be compelled to check out your novels. Being an indie author is much more difficult than having the support of a publisher. I’ve been at it for over 10 years and financially, it’s still in the realm of a hobby even though I have received a lot of recognition. This is a systemic problem with how our society doesn’t value artists, and it’s not your fault. You might also look to see if there are in person writing groups in your area to find some community with other writers. As a poet I know open mics have made being a writer a lot less lonely for me. Being unemployed is a difficult, depressing situation. I hope your depression eases and you find some light on the other side.
 

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Hey. First off, hugs.

You're going through a tough time. And it's natural to find creative pursuits much harder when you are going through hard times. Sometimes, you have to stop writing until you get your 'house' in order. Writers don't like to talk about that, and seem to feel like they have to press through and write even in hardship, but there are times when it makes sense to step away from writing to take care of the deeper/bigger issues in your 'real' life. This sounds like one of those times.
I agree with this. I gave up writing for 2 years. Then I bounced back and wrote and published a trilogy in less than 6 months once I'd organized my priorities.

I don't know which country you are from, but earning money from books can be a nightmare if it takes you over the threshold for social security and unemployment benefit and make matters worse financially. because of the uncertain nature of earning from publishing. I'd suggest as others have, in making it a priority to get out there and find a living that can support you and with extra to pamper yourself and to end the depression without medication.
 

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Maybe you'd be passionate about writing something else? Doesn't need to be books. Could be movie scripts, poetry, music lyrics, copywriting, etc

Also, sometimes creatives expect that turning hobby into career will keep it exactly the same. It won't. Something that was an escape, becomes a source of stress so there is no stress release anymore. Maybe it happened here. It doesn't mean one should quit writing tho, maybe a new hobby for stress release would be better to add and then readjusting expectations (that writing will not be as easy and fun as it was when it wasn't more professional) will help.

Nothing wrong with quitting what's not for you tho. You learned things, you got better and you could bring that to whatever you decide to do next. No loss situation ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Have you thought about seeking a traditional publishing route? Agent, contracts, all that? You might be happier writing, while working a different kind of job to support yourself.

It's something I've considered over the years, as the pressure to be this hyper-successful writer/publisher/marketer has taken hold of many self publishing groups. It's become less about the writing and more about the business, and attitudes you get from some people can really affect the creative juices.
Yes. I’m highly considering traditional publishing instead. Self publishing just seems too much for me, and even when I start working I have to save for a car and dental work. I have no room for editor or book cover expenses. I also need to get my own place eventually
 

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My suggestion is that in the near term you should focus on financial security. For the vast majority of writers, the income earned is a secondary source of support. Break up you day into tranches and set aside a certain amount of time to work and take in income. It is hard to write if you are worried about food on the table etc... solve the first issue first.

As for editing and related services, many you can actually do yourself or use free tools that are available like Prowriting Aid and Grammarly...if you pay for the higher end versions they are still cheaper than any editor. Taking a brief break from writing may be the answer. Or set aside time for it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
You might want to consider doing short fiction and submitting to magazines. It costs nothing (no covers, no promotion) and you invest less in each story while learning more about writing. Or possibly writing is just something you would like to have done. As Decon suggested, sometimes it's the publishing that is depressing, not the writing, but not always. And I'd even break it down further. Having worked for magazines, I enjoy the production aspects of publishing, but not the marketing.
I actually use to submit short stories to magazines before I realized I was pigeon holing myself. After learning story structure and reading so many novels, I don’t really see myself trying to write short stories again, unless you consider a 40k story a short story
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I agree with this. I gave up writing for 2 years. Then I bounced back and wrote and published a trilogy in less than 6 months once I'd organized my priorities.

I don't know which country you are from, but earning money from books can be a nightmare if it takes you over the threshold for social security and unemployment benefit and make matters worse financially. because of the uncertain nature of earning from publishing. I'd suggest as others have, in making it a priority to get out there and find a living that can support you and with extra to pamper yourself and to end the depression without medication.
I don’t receive unemployment unfortunately since I didn’t work enough last year to get it
 

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Hobbies are underrated.

The second you start to sell your book, or really consider its place as an income earner, it becomes a product, and you start running a small business. Most of us aren't natural marketers or business owners. Some of us learn begrudgingly. Some of us learn and love it. But all of us change our relationship to writing when we start actively trying to make money.

I love being a full time author, but it comes at a high cost. I no longer find writing an escape. I no longer know where my pen name intersects with me as a person or an artist. I no longer feel a sense of understanding or a desire for understanding. I no longer write what inspires me, period, the end. I still write things I want to write, but I am led in different directs by sales, reader requests, feedback, advertising, cover trends, cover preferences.

And I don't have good outlets outside of work.

I get to spend my time writing, yes, but I have to treat it like a business too.

Quitting is also underrated. At least, pausing is underrated.

It's not all or nothing. You can take a break from writing. If you don't miss it, great, you have more time to do something else that fills you. If you do, great, now you're driven to write.

Quitting screenwriting was one of the best decisions I've ever made. At the time, it felt like a horrible possibility, like a huge failure. But I needed to quit to make room for writing novels. I didn't give up. I changed paths.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Hobbies are underrated.

The second you start to sell your book, or really consider its place as an income earner, it becomes a product, and you start running a small business. Most of us aren't natural marketers or business owners. Some of us learn begrudgingly. Some of us learn and love it. But all of us change our relationship to writing when we start actively trying to make money.

I love being a full time author, but it comes at a high cost. I no longer find writing an escape. I no longer know where my pen name intersects with me as a person or an artist. I no longer feel a sense of understanding or a desire for understanding. I no longer write what inspires me, period, the end. I still write things I want to write, but I am led in different directs by sales, reader requests, feedback, advertising, cover trends, cover preferences.

And I don't have good outlets outside of work.

I get to spend my time writing, yes, but I have to treat it like a business too.

Quitting is also underrated. At least, pausing is underrated.

It's not all or nothing. You can take a break from writing. If you don't miss it, great, you have more time to do something else that fills you. If you do, great, now you're driven to write.

Quitting screenwriting was one of the best decisions I've ever made. At the time, it felt like a horrible possibility, like a huge failure. But I needed to quit to make room for writing novels. I didn't give up. I changed paths.
There was a time where I would’ve loved to be a full time writer, but now I see it as boring and not worth it. The old me would’ve fought tooth and nail to have my foot in the door, but not anymore.

Nothing wrong with taking a break, but I see things now for what they really are based on my current situation. (Putting in effort in something I was once passionate about, and not getting any money in return, when I am better off using all of my effort finding a job instead)

My financial situation was always my current priority, but I want to put the rest of my effort into it.

This may not be the case for others’ financial or personal situations though.

Another thing I Don’t see myself doing is being a self published author, I wouldn’t mind becoming a traditionally published author though
 

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Hobbies are underrated.

The second you start to sell your book, or really consider its place as an income earner, it becomes a product, and you start running a small business. Most of us aren't natural marketers or business owners. Some of us learn begrudgingly. Some of us learn and love it. But all of us change our relationship to writing when we start actively trying to make money.

I love being a full time author, but it comes at a high cost. I no longer find writing an escape. I no longer know where my pen name intersects with me as a person or an artist. I no longer feel a sense of understanding or a desire for understanding. I no longer write what inspires me, period, the end. I still write things I want to write, but I am led in different directs by sales, reader requests, feedback, advertising, cover trends, cover preferences.

And I don't have good outlets outside of work.

I get to spend my time writing, yes, but I have to treat it like a business too.

Quitting is also underrated. At least, pausing is underrated.

It's not all or nothing. You can take a break from writing. If you don't miss it, great, you have more time to do something else that fills you. If you do, great, now you're driven to write.

Quitting screenwriting was one of the best decisions I've ever made. At the time, it felt like a horrible possibility, like a huge failure. But I needed to quit to make room for writing novels. I didn't give up. I changed paths.
Well said.
 
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