KBoards needs a reality check

Of course, I’m too introverted to actually say that on KBoards. :D But it’s true.

The survivorship bias is huge on the boards, because no one wants to talk about what it means to earn a living writing, and yet not be one of the superstars. Some of that is because quite often any income that falls below HUGE is met with stuff like “if you want to be average that’s all well and good but I don’t want to be average so I have to do the things that will make me not average.” It’s a terrible paraphrase, but that’s the attitude I feel like predominates the talk when writer income gets mentioned.

From Wikipedia:

The U.S. Census Bureau reported in September 2014 that:

  • U.S. real (inflation adjusted) median household income was $51,939 in 2013
  • Real median household income averaged $50,781 from 1964-2013

I bolded this, because household income is not personal (per capita) income. It’s the income of everyone in the household. $51,939 yearly comes to $4,328.25 a month. This isn’t after-tax money. Oh, no. This is pre-tax.

From Census.gov:

Median household income (in 2014 dollars), 2010-2014: $53,482
Per capita income in past 12 months (in 2014 dollars), 2010-2014: $28,555

The per capita income is the one to look at: $28,555. That’s $2,379.58 in pre-tax money per month.

A new writer might want to make a lot more money than this in the longer term, but at the beginning of a career, to expect a whole lot more from a job that requires more skill than money to get started with seems kind of crazy.

And yet so many writers on KBoards are getting the idea that income like this, normal income for U.S. citizens, is failure.


That’s why I titled this post the way I did. It’s just crazy to think of oneself as a failure because you aren’t a superstar.

This has been my public service announcement to all writers everywhere, especially to those just starting out.

Don’t quit when you’re just getting started because the income you’re earning is less than that of a superstar. Everybody can’t be a superstar. If that’s really your goal and you aren’t getting there, then quit, but if your goal is to just write and make a living, start with realistic expectations and go from there. Dreams are great. Pushing for more is great. But don’t feel like a failure because you’re average out of the gate. It can take time for most people to build up to better earnings in a career. This career path is no different.

I Must Stop Visiting Most Writers’ Forums and Blogs

It’s time I started to avoid the self-sabotaging habits of visiting certain writers’ forums and blogs.

There are a few blogs I read that I find helpful and inspirational, even motivational, but there are also a number of blogs I’ve had to quit reading altogether. One makes me mad every time I read it, one disappoints me, a few more just leave me feeling disheartened when I read them—I face reality every day and I completely agree that writing is hard work and you have to be willing to put in so much more than you’re going to get back to start with, but the constant refrain of “if you don’t do this, you have no chance of success” annoys me when I clearly don’t do “this” and yet am not a failure.

I guess what I’m saying is that I didn’t realize so many writers were assholes. :D I’m not sure I like having found that out, and I definitely don’t feel like reminding myself of that every time I open a web browser.

Several forums make me feel the same.

Maybe a better way to explain it is that reading these forums and blogs on a regular basis sucks the creative energy right out of me. I lose my enthusiasm for my stories, for writing, for creating. These places make me feel all tangled up inside. I want to spend time with other writers, but I really don’t want to spend time with people I don’t like. That makes it sound like I don’t like most of the people I’ve met on forums and through blogs, but that’s not true. Not true at all. But I find being around people I don’t like so destructive that it completely overwhelms the joy I get from being around people I do like.

I don’t know why. I’m sure there are lots of writers who enjoy these places and receive more energy from these places than they lose, but that’s not me. Interacting even with people I like takes a lot of energy from me. Putting myself in the position of interacting with people I don’t like? It’s starting to feel a bit self-destructive, tbh.

I’ve become a conflict junkie. I don’t create it or participate, but I find myself drawn to those threads and those blog posts, reading about how horrible all writers are for not caring about this or that—or readers. Good Lord, am I tired of that one! I am a reader. I care about readers. I just chose to care mostly about the things that I as a reader would care about and that’s not the things that some of these other people care about—obviously—but my reader concerns (and therefore writer concerns) are apparently wrong.

Anyway, didn’t mean to go there, but maybe you’re getting the point here. I need to get away from that stuff.

I need contact with other writers, and I’m not sure how I’m going to get it, but I’ll have to figure something else out.

I need to spend more time reading good fiction (without discovering how much I just don’t like some of the authors of some of that good stuff because it completely ruins the reading experience for me). I need to spend more time reading and re-reading good craft and writing life books. I need to spend more time learning new things because this inspires my creativity like almost nothing else.

Now, this has made me almost an hour late getting started on my writing today so I’ve got to wrap it up.

Finally, here are some blogs that I still love.

  • J.A. Konrath’s blog (lots of conflict but his stuff is different because he’s so inspiring)
  • Hugh Howey’s blog (such a positive person that his posts are easy to read and enjoy)
  • Dean Wesley Smith’s blog (sometimes abrasive but inspiring and very helpful and friendly when you have real questions)
  • I’m sure there are more but I can’t think of them—the pressure! I’m in a hurry to get writing before this post starts eating into my second hour of writing time! :D