Here’s a post by Kathryn Lilley at Kill Zone Blog: What would you tell kids about writing?
She means during a school presentation or something of that sort.
I attended a high school Career Day in South Carolina yesterday, to talk about writing as a possible vocation. I hosted multiple, back-to-back discussions, each one covering different writing-related careers: journalism; fiction writing; and technical writing…
Sounds like a good group of kids, and of course they might have found it interesting to compare the idea of being a novelist with the idea of being, say, a nurse.
Kathryn says she focused on the importance of the craft of writing and the importance of connecting with the local writer’s community. I agree about the former, but the latter seems iffy to me. That’s partly because “local” means something different when you’re this far away from a big city, partly because local is not a very meaningful term in this digitally connected age, and partly because I’m such an introvert that I basically never have followed this advice — certainly not at all before I was actually published. Every budding writer’s mileage will vary, no doubt.
Anyway: what I would say —
Poetic images of The Struggling Poet aside, financial insecurity may well kill your creativity. Even if you can write when under a lot of financial stress, why would you want to? Find a real job that will provide a good cushion and let writing be a hobby until you believe you really are prepared to let it be your only source of income. Which may be never, and that is fine.
Learn to budget, and I mean on the long term, because when you are self-employed you will not BELIEVE how variable your yearly income can be. Budget for taxes first and then for other random huge expenses and sock a lot of money away in good years because there will be years that aren’t so good.
Maybe that’s too practical. But that’s what I would say. And have.