This is not a How-to article but more of a recollection. So if you're looking on information on how to take your writing from a hobby to a career, I can only give you my own thoughts and experiences. Plus, how you go from hobby to career would be your own story. One that you have to figure out. Much like life. It's a journey.
But that doesn't mean you don't have comrades in arms. Consider me and my story context to give to your own experiences.
This entry is also part celebration because I have to remind myself about my own accomplishments before I condemn myself to the goals I haven't made. So here's a slideshow of victories:
See... I have written stuff!
Unfortunately, I cannot add the 50 novels and novellas I did as a ghost writer for clients because, them's the rules. Plus side, if I ever needed money, I know I have the chops and could rely on this talent to win contracts and write more stories if the need arises.
But I found out something about myself along the way while ghost writing.
I need recognition.
Writing stories for others is okay, but then I have to let those stories go and some of them were amazing and made me wish I hadn't given them away. (Ha! "give them away" is a bit of a parody. I sold them to people who know how to market and make them a comfortable amount of money for the price I extracted).
I wanted to publish certain stories I'd ghost written under my name. But, alas...
It wasn't about the money because none of my titles has allowed me to build my house from gold bricks so...
It's about the recognition so to speak.
And then... I fell in love.
I realized the m/m romance genre was something that I not only loved to read but also write. So I changed gears, and wrote "Seducing Sensei" my love letter to yaoi, m/m, boys love and all the other genres you want to name same sex relationships under. And then I wanted to write more. So I did.
Don't get me wrong, I still love to write m/f stories too, but I write what makes sense to the story not what is going to be meshed within a genre.
But there's an issue with writing "what I want."
Readers aren't all that forgiving.
They want XX genre (a specific category) and expect an author to be in that genre. So how can I assume that MY readers would be okay with everything romance under the sun?
So my m/f will be with the Penn Scripter pen name and my m/m will be with my S.N.McKibben pen name. When did this become an ad for my new pen name?
There are reasons why I did what I did but everything is a bit backwards.
Then there's the tricky part of actually writing.
The thing is, I have written. I have been writing. I have stories. I have stories that are ready for copy editing. Stories that are ready to publish. Stories in the making. Stories in the revision process. Stories I've started, and ideas I have for future ones.
I've even had beta readers look at some of the stories I've started and I've edited those wonderful stories with their help.
There's two stories (one m/m and one m/f) that are being written right now. (Okay not right─right now because, right now I'm writing a blog. But you can bet that if you're reading this, I'm working on those stories)
So... why haven't those that are ready been published yet?
It has to do with my relationship with money and this other thing I learned about myself.
I don't like spending money on myself.
I have a wardrobe that is 5 years old. I keep a lot of clothes and don't buy new ones. I don't travel, I don't go places, I don't purchase things I want, like or even must have, all because "I don't need to spend the money".
I don't need stuff, but I do buy some groceries specifically for me. Like mini-cokes and Frappuccino's. I even added trail mix to the list of things only for me. Otherwise it's all about what the family needs, wants and desires. Fuck what I want 'cause I look at "things" and go, meh. I lived without it yesterday, why do I need it today?
But there is one indulgence that I invest in.
I don't have paintings or posters or physical items of art. I have commissioned pieces of... my game characters.
Yep. I'm a geek and you can suck my big nerd dick because I love the people I play with and their characters. My GM is amazing and he does everything he can to give us a phenomenal experience.
It's awesome when he makes twists and turns that I can't see coming. Sometimes he does, sometimes it's predictable but it's never boring.
And the people I play with are some of the most understanding, chill gamers I've ever played with.
In the future, you will be seeing art of our characters and the stories that go along with them.
But back to from hobby to career...
How I Found a (Potential) Career from My Hobby
Another thing about me... I love anime, cartoons, animation, comics and all those mediums of art. But I can't draw worth a damn. Nor do I really want to distract from writing. I want to make stories. I want to tell stories. I want to show everyone how they can be excellent to each other. But I think I can market someone else's art better than I can market my own writing.
Ana has been my illustrator for the past year. She's good, like really good! In fact, let me introduce her by way of her work.
She made everything except for the ship on the right but I have no doubts about her ability.
Now, I've had other illustrators before. All of them excellent! But Ana is special. Not only does she have talent, but she's reliable. She's a unicorn among a sea of illustrators because she's consistent.
Week after week she gives me the hours and progressions I need.
This is the kind of person you want on your team.
Without her, I'd think about illustrating larger projects. Projects like, putting a book in webtoon form.
So I asked her if she was willing to do an online comic with me, and...
I don't know when.
But I know the project and the plan.
When we finish with the current role-playing characters for our Dresden game, we'll start this webtoon project!
Which will take my hobby of commissioning illustrations from my RP game, and repurposing my stories already told into visual art form. If I come away with nothing else, I'll have a webtoon of my favorite books!
Wish me the best!