I read this article yesterday: “Sponsored” by my husband when it came across my Facebook feed. It took me a while to formulate my response…but I make no promises that it’s clear or even remotely concise. It’s my usual rambling thoughts on a subject that hits close to home.

The article shows two examples of writers who had certain monetary advantages and/or connections from birth within the literary scene. She highlights how when asked both of these authors state other reasons behind their success, ones that while they may contribute to their own personal success are not necessarily what hinders the majority of those who are writing today. She even uses her own life as a personal example of what can seriously help a writer get published and have the ability to continue writing and publishing, even if the books never gain high sales or advances.

At this point in my writing career (still very early) I can agree with her heavily. I spent much of my earlier adulthood without the time to write. Putting aside my years long writers’ block, I was living from paycheck to paycheck, then I was focused on school and getting my degree. Then I was focused on making a living and becoming a functioning adult in society. As much as I love writing and see it as my great passion that doesn’t mean that I will be able to make a living at it. That’s not to say that once I publish my first novel that it won’t have great sales or instantly become a hit (a la E.L. James). But I had to work to keep my head above water and writing fantasy novels wasn’t something at the time that was going to help me achieve that.

In the past year I have been able to get back into my writing, both my novel and my blog. I have been able to make goals and strides towards self-publishing. I’m not making any money at this stage in the game. And honestly, I don’t imagine that the moment I self-publish my novel some exec at a famous publishing house will read my book, buy it and then just a few years later I’ll suddenly be a movie. That’s just not how it happens for the majority of us writers out there. I’m lucky that despite not having a job at the moment my husband does and he’s able to keep us financially stable.

I’ve spent the past year reading more blogs, following more self-published writers and writers in general on Facebook and through their blog. I’ve started buying more e-books of authors I’ve never heard of or new authors – mostly to put out the good karma so that when I’m that new author on the block hopefully others will do the same with my book. I’ve spent a lot of time, effort and energy trying to create a writing scene for myself – one that I hope will be able to help me when I publish.

In the past few months I’ve spent a lot of time also applying for another job. By day I’m an event planner and a large part of my personality insists that I get a job. I’m not one to sit around all day at home, it tends to drive me a little batty, and has an oddly dampening effect on my writing. I need a job, not only to contribute to our household finances, but to get out in the world and give myself a hard and fast deadline for when I need to write. I also like to think realistically about my writing. It doesn’t make me money, it doesn’t support me or my family. It won’t for a long time. It may not ever be able to do that. Maybe I’ll be incredibly lucky and be the next Harper Lee, but I can’t plan my entire life on that rare star.

So I’m content to be an event planner by day and writer by night. And when we have children I will still be content with juggling a full-time job, my children and writing – as so many writers before me have done. Maybe when that time comes I will have reached the stars and be able to make more risky choices because my writing will financially be able to support other areas of my life. At this stage of the game, that’s just not viable. I don’t say this to put down any other writer who may be a stay at home parent or a full-time writer or something different from how I work. I say this only to state this is how I as a writer work and plan. This is what I need to do to stay self-fulfilled and passionate about my writing.

I say this to remind myself that if one day in the future all my far-reaching goals of being the next Harper Lee comes true that when someone asks me what attributed to my success as a writer I will be able to genuinely respond to that question. I can note all the hard work I put into it, all the struggles of a daily life and the advantages of having an outside source of income. I will be able to thank the people who stood by me, who encouraged me, who helped guide me towards achieving my goals. Hopefully when asked that question I will be able to also see how lucky and fortunate I was to make my dreams come true. Because I know there are millions of writers out there, self-published or otherwise, who no one has ever heard of or who may never get the chance to publish in any way. That doesn’t make them any less of a writer than those who have sold over a million copies or made that best-selling list. That doesn’t mean that they didn’t work hard or that their work doesn’t matter.

I hope that when my dreams come true I can take realistic stock of all that’s helped me accomplish my goals and see the advantages I may have as just that, advantages. Not something that makes me better than anyone else or my writing better than anyone else. Just simple advantages that I have been able to see for what they are and use them to propel myself forward.