Writers Helping Writers

I don’t want anyone to take that title the wrong way. In reality the purpose of this post is to rant rather than be helpful. Why is that? As a writer trying to move in an upward direction in both income and prestige, it is very frustrating when other more experienced writers attempt to place more importance on their work than yours. While certainly they are in the know about the publishing world, it is frustrating when someone tells you that you are not a professional because you don’t make $100 an hour and/or are not published in a trade journal or other prestigious publication. These writers tend to place more emphasis on how much money you earn for your writing and seem to forget it takes time to reach the point when you can earn a nice wage as a writer.

I belong to several different writing lists and while most of the people on those lists are very helpful, I have to admit there are many others who feel that are better than I am because they have already “made it.” They have the impression that everyone who makes the effort can make $100 or more an hour. Hah! How I would love to make that kind of money–I would settle for making even a quarter of that. Of course, in the eyes of these “professionals” making $25 an hour is not enough. I thought everyone had to work their way to the top–at least that’s the way it was when I worked in the “real world” before my employer downsized my job and I chose to pursue my love of writing instead of trying to get back into the rat race.

I worked the 9-5 routine all my life until 2005 when my company decided to downsize. Since I was the newest person in the department, I was the first to go. At 53 years old I wasn’t looking forward to looking for another job, so I decided to build a freelance business. My hope was by the time my unemployment ran out I would be making the amount of money I needed to stay afloat financially. Unfortunately the recession hit and even writers took a beating in the process. I went from making between $300-500 a week to making the same amount in a month!

How does the recession affect those of us who have not yet made a showing in the world of major publishers and magazines? They don’t know our names, so it’s more difficult to get your foot into the door. The hope of myself and others in my position is that by joining writers groups that are infiltrated with “professional” writers we can learn some of the ways to get into the market. Instead what happens is many of these “professionals” tell us we are not professionals because we do not make the same amount of money they do. Those of us who have only been published online face even more negativity from these “professionals.”

Is there a place where new writers can go for help without facing the nasty comments from some of these other writers? We are looking for honest help because we don’t know where to start. Yes, there are online sources and there is the Writer’s Market Guide, but these sources don’t always tell us which publications are more likely to work with those who have only been published online. I want–and need–to find sources where I can make even $50 an hour or write a couple of columns a week and make enough to add a decent amount to the family income.

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