How to Master (and Survive) a Career as a Solo Writer!
by Jennifer Brown Banks

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"Two heads are better than one."---Anonymous

Read author's bios in an article's closure or in the intro of best-selling books, and you'll find that the vast majority include a reference to a spouse who served as a cheerleader, or editor, or sounding board, or motivator, or muse, or hand-holder... In nearly every book dedication, you'll find a word of thanks to the partner who helped the writer pursue his/her dreams.

But what about the individuals for whom there is no "better half?"

Consider the widow who discovers her passion for writing later in life. The corporate ladder-climbing diva who moonlights as a writer, who has yet to find her Prince Charming. There's no one to bounce ideas off in the middle of the night. No one to inspire poetic thoughts. No second income to prevent this "starving artist" from starving figuratively and literally.

Being a "solo act" as a writer is definitely more difficult and less glamorous than other forms of artistry. (And did I mention there are no adoring groupies?) Consequently, a scribe who is "unattached" or unmarried must be more strategic, committed, and resourceful than his partnered peers.

Consider the following statistics, provided by the U.S. Census Bureau:

Additionally, changing norms, global travel and career aspirations are causing many to postpone marriage. Perhaps you're even one of them.

If so, read on. While this article won't help you change your marital status, it can change your writing status, and enable you, as a solo act, to enjoy a more successful career with many encore performances. But, before we address how to approach a solo career more strategically, let's examine a few reasons why single scribes have different dynamics.

Solo scribes frequently fall into the following categories...

Traditional advice for writers does not always apply to them; they must know when and how to "adjust" to their needs and individual lifestyles.

Let's look at what a few writers had to say about how their marital status affected their writing status...

"My friends who have husbands who provide a home and insurance don't feel the pressure I do, and never have to take projects they don't like, because they're covered -- but they don't have the freedom I do to take off on a research trip whenever I need to. So both have advantages but when it comes to ease, having someone remove the burden of being the sole "bread winner" does make it easier to focus on what one loves to write." ---Cynthia Clampitt, President of Midwest Writers Association

"I truly believe that if I hadn't been married to my husband, I might not have been published. He was my biggest cheerleader and critique partner. I went to my first writers conference because he gave me a push (okay a shove)!" ---Susan R., Novelist

"I have a relatively unique scenario in that I was "married but single" when I started my freelance career. I lost my job as the editor of a business newspaper when it folded in January 2003. My husband had just been sent to Iraq for more than a year so I figured, "If I can't make a freelance writing career now, I'll never be able to do it." I had the financial advantage of his income, but the schedule of a single woman. I could work until 2 a.m., eat on my own schedule and go days without leaving the house if I wanted." ---Wendy B, Author, Editor, PR Executive

"As someone who has been on both sides of the fence, I can attest that "flying solo" is definitely harder on the psyche and the soul. When I was married, even though my husband didn't truly understand my creative efforts, his income helped me to have less stress. Stress can often lead to writer's block. In writing, no output means no income." ---Elaine Cooke, Blogger and single mom

The good news is that even with certain obstacles and limitations, today's single scribe can learn to work smarter, not harder, and build a successful business. Even if you're not a solo act, the following tips will help you to think more strategically and better survive the rigors of freelance writing.

Insurance

One of the biggest hardships for those who are single freelancers is not having the benefit of insurance coverage through a spouse's plan. Being without insurance is one of the worst "vulnerabilities" for entrepreneurs. An accident, an unexpected illness, or other life mishap could potentially devastate you financially. If you're currently uninsured, here are a few viable options to consider.

Support (Spiritual And Emotional)

Living life as a single scribe can be a bit lonely and challenging. As mentioned above, those who are solo, often don't have the benefit of having someone to share their dreams, bounce ideas off, keep them motivated, help manage their business, or to serve as a general cheerleader. Perhaps you're one of them.

Though these suggestions won't quite replace having a mate, they can help you to feel supported, more "connected," and motivated to go the distance.

Support (Financial)

No matter what your vocation, having to survive off one income in today's tough economy can seem next to impossible. With writers, "the plot thickens." Many times publishers pay months after work is completed. Online scams await the unwary writer, so that you may not get paid for work performed at all. And who can forget the "feast or famine" cycles? It becomes crucial for writers to develop other forms of income and opportunities.

Here are a few suggestions:

Don't limit your creativity to your writing. By following these timely tips you'll meet the demands of today's "solo act" -- and put a song in your heart, money in your bank account, and more freedom in your freelancing choices.

Copyright © 2015 Jennifer Brown Banks
This article is not available for reprint without the author's written permission.


Jennifer Brown Banks is a veteran freelance writer, pro blogger, and ghost writer. Her guest posts have been featured at "top-dog" sites such as: Men with Pens, ProBlogger, Daily Blog Tips, and Write to Done. Visit her site at http://Penandprosper.blogspot.com/.

 

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