Dreams of writing that huge hit novels and soaring to the heights of a Stephen King or JK Rowling aside, it’s hard to make it as a full-time writer. The question I have been asked repeatedly lately is “when are you going to quit your day job?” The answer is: “when my writing can provide full health care benefits. And dental.” So not anytime soon. (Plus, my day job allows me a flexible schedule which lets me get my work done, have time for my family, and time for writing and ministry work while paying the bills of my life. I know a good situation when I see it.)

Not everyone has this luxury. In this economic climate, I’d be especially loathe to give up a steady paying gig. Some folks, however, have those gigs taken from them or their significant others (the other way to be a full-time writer, as unglamourous as this may seem, is to marry someone who can has a job which can provide things like insurance). So you have to do what you have to in order to make ends meet. Ain’t no shame in that, especially if you can do what you love to do or at least something tangential to it. Such is what has happened to a few friends of mine.

Uber-talented Catherynne Valente has begun a novel online supported by donations. Similarly, Tim Pratt, who co-authored with Nick Mamatas, one of my favorite short stories of last year, The Dude Who Collected Lovecraft, is also writing a prequel novel also for donations. Who knows, this may be the way of the future for all writers who have accumulated a following.

Editor, Jason Sizemore, publisher of Apex Magazine and books (a stable which includes my own Orgy of Souls and my future anthology, Dark Faith) is also in need of economic stimulus, offering to sell his services as a freelance editor. It’s not easy to finance your dream, no matter what that dream is. Labors of love still cost money as well as sweat equity.

The advice I give to newbie writers all the time is “learn as much as you can about the business side of writing and how to handle your money.” Here are a few blogs which I have found interesting which discuss the reality of money and writing full-time which I have found quite informative:

-John Scalzi’s Unasked-For Advice to New Writers About Money and On Writers, Marriages, and NYC/LA/SF.

-Jeff Vandermeer’s The Full-Time Writing Life: If It Doesn’t Kill You First, It’ll Kill You Second

-Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s Freelancer’s Survival Guide, Money, Part One, Part Two, Part Three, and Part Four

Know what you’re getting into before you go quitting that day job. The dream is one thing, it’s another thing when that dream runs over you with a bus.