Quick Truth – The financial realities of writing

Being any type of artist takes support, emotional and especially financial. I have found that being a writer definitely requires financial sacrifices. For me, I recognized that I had to change my lifestyle in order to write my novel. I could not continue at a high pressure, high stress 40+ hour job and have the ability to craft the novel resting on my heart. I shifted to working freelance, and eventually made my own styling business so that I would have extended periods in which I could write and work on my novel. I feel very lucky that I was in a place in my life in which I could make these life shifts and sacrifices in order to prioritize my creative output.

To be transparent, I have made a small side income from my writing in the past few years. Specifically, I found I could be compensated for some of my storytelling performances and readings (sometimes all they have to offer is the dreaded ‘exposure’). But my writing income in no way covers my living costs, so I do still have to work gigs in styling, merchandising, and brand ambassadorship to make the bulk of my income. Most of the writers I know have some other career/job that brings in their income. Other than a few journalists and content creators who are able to make their income through regular writing assignments, the writers I know support their writing with another career.

I knew when I accepted that I was writing a novel, I would not see financial returns from my work until it was complete and published. I understood that by committing to writing a novel, I was entering into a journey of discovery, and not necessarily financial reward. After 6 years, my novel is finally coming out. Has it been worth it financially? I don’t know that I can say that yet. But emotionally this process has been worth it as I knew I would not be satisfied with my life in the present unless I was working towards making this dream a reality. I”m so grateful that The Goddess Twins is out next month!

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Yodassa Williams is a powerful conjurer of black girl magic (70% Jedi, 30% Sith). A Jamaican American writer, speaker, and award winning performing storyteller, alumna of the VONA/Voices Travel Writing program and creator of the podcast ‘The Black Girl Magic Files’, Yodassa (Yoda) launched ‘Writers Emerging' in 2019, a wilderness writing retreat for women of color and non-binary people of color. In 2020, Yodassa's debut YA Fantasy, The Goddess Twins, will be published by Spark Press. She grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio and currently resides in the Bay Area.

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