Best and Worst of the Digital Writing Life

This post, by C.J. West, originally appeared on the Crime Fiction Collective blog and is reprinted here with that site’s permission.

When my last physical was over, my doctor asked, “You still writing suspense novels?”

“Absolutely.” I smiled.

“But what do you do to make a living?” he asked.

If I sold a book for every time I heard that one…

Then yesterday someone asked about my schedule and was surprised that I usually work well past midnight. That’s if you call what I do work. I love writing and if I’m not sleeping, spending time with my kids, or doing chores, I’m working.

My boss is a slave driver!

Work for me can be anything from researching a subject for a new book, writing and editing a novel, to spending time online connecting with friends in the writing community.

Since the writing life is such a mystery to non-writers, I thought I’d shine a light on what my little corner of the universe is like.

The top 10 great things about being a writer in the digital world:

10. Writing connects me with thousands of great people all over the globe.

9. My commute consists of pulling back the covers and stretching to power on my laptop.

8. The digital store is open 365 days a year (366 this year) and I can see exactly what I’m earning minute to minute.

7. Tweeting and Facebooking are important job skills.

6. Blogging about my addiction to chocolate or my attempts to diet earn me readers.

5. My office fits in a carry-on with room to spare. I can work on a beach or plane.

4. When I’m looking out the window and dreaming, I’m doing my best work.

3. My imaginary coworkers can’t sue for sexual harassment and they don’t complain about working conditions or low pay.

2. People write to tell me my writing has changed their lives.

1. The digital explosion has allowed me to reach tens of thousands and earn a living doing what I love.

Ten worst things about being a writer in the digital world:

10. Mediating squabbles on the digital playground.

9. There is no excuse for being late to work.

8. I can check my earnings minute to minute, but sometimes it’s better not knowing.

7. My family and friends think I should have a real job.

6. Everyone thinks I’m available to help them 24/7. See # 7.

5. Marketing. I love writing. I’m not fond of selling. (But I do like giving stuff away.)

4. Thousands of people think I can write a bestselling book about their great idea, give them half the royalties, and we’ll both be rich. It’s funny until they ask the third time.

3. If something good happens in the book business it’s always luck.

2. If something bad happens, it’s my fault.

1. My imaginary coworkers don’t do what they’re told even though I created them.

I hope you enjoyed this peek into my writing life.

 

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