Interview With a Writer

Posted March 14, 2012 by

Depending on the market, my job title has been ‘writer,’ ‘contributor,’ and ‘author.’ I have worked in the speculative fiction industry as well as the romance industry, with five years of experience in the former and four in the latter.

For me, writing is a mix of sitting down to get the words out and looking around for the information that I need. Even when writing something set in the present day, I find that the more research I bring to the scene, the better it goes. One of the most common misunderstandings about my job is that it is a hobby, and not something I can do to pay the bills.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I would rate my job satisfaction at an 8. The only thing that stops it from being a 10 is that there is no insurance.

I’ve always felt that being a fiction writer is something that I am, not just something I do. If I were left alone in a room, I would be writing whether I was paid or not. The fact that I do get paid is something that both puzzles me and thrills me. I do think that there might be a time where I want to give it up and do something that pays a bit better and that has some security, but I would definitely still be writing.

I don’t feel that I am terribly unique when it comes to writing. I love to read, but I will absorb stories in all forms, whether they are in video games, television or radio plays. I feel this gives me an advantage no matter what stories I am telling.

I got started with writing for online magazines. Suddenly, with the advent of online magazines, it was easier to submit than ever before, and the response times were much faster. If I could go back and give myself advice, I would only tell myself to write more, read more and submit more.

I have learned to keep track of my submissions and to double-check my work. Nothing is more embarrassing than sending off a query email to an editor and having them reply by asking for the story attachment. That could easily have cost me a sale if the editor wasn’t very kind.

Everything prepares you for being a writer. I’ve found that all of the experiences that I go through make me a stronger writer and teach me about how people work. Even bad experiences end up being used in my writing.

I once told a stranger I was a writer, and he immediately started reciting poetry to me. This took place in the middle of a crowded train station. I was a little confused.

I get up and go to work every day because I like my job and I feel that I can tell good stories to people who need to hear them. Once I got a piece of fan mail stating that my story really helped a reader through a tough time in her life.

Procrastination and a fear of being overwhelmed are two challenges I face regularly. I only want to pull my hair out when publishers are late with my checks.

I would say that my job is not terribly stressful until my deadlines come up. I hold my deadline to be nearly sacred. Otherwise, I enjoy a fairly balanced life.

My salary range goes all over the place depending on how good the year is. Once, I made as much as 22,000 dollars, but that was a very good year for me. For a single person living in a large city, this keeps me relatively comfortable.

While working as a fiction writer, I have never taken a vacation. I miss them sometimes, but not enough to return to an office environment. Of course, given the fact that I can simply take a walk whenever I want to, I don’t miss vacations as much as might be expected.

I hold a bachelor’s in media studies, and though I didn’t intend to be a fiction writer when I got it, it has been very helpful. In terms of skills, I would not be a fiction writer at all if I weren’t relatively stubborn and persistent.

My advice to my friends has always been to save up some money before attempting to write full-time. Having a cushion to fall back on is essential for a writer. Similarly, I have told them that if they want to write, they should read. You don’t make stories from nothing.

If I were writing my own ticket, I would have more stories published, and perhaps I would have broken into some new markets. There are two novels that I really want to write, and I would love to see them finished and on the shelves.

This is a true story as told to LatPro.com, the worldwide leader in providing online employment resources for Hispanic and bilingual professionals. LatPro is the largest diversity employment site in the U.S. and the most complete personal career advancement service for Latino and bilingual professionals.

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