Chapter Nineteen: A Writer’s Job Description


‘TANFL. There ain’t no free lunch.’ Jim Butcher

A few months ago, I saw a video of professionals applying for a new position. They started off bright eyed and eager, until the interviewer started describing the position. “You must be on-call for your client 365 days a year, no vacations, no holidays, and in fact holidays tend to be even more demanding.” The position called for an applicant skilled in battlefield medical triage, multi-age education, event planning, among a dozen other highly demanding attributes. As the interview went on, their eyes grew larger until they would finally demand to know how many hundreds of thousands of dollars the position paid. “Oh, you wouldn’t be getting paid.” After a moment of silence, the interviewer would smile and mention that the job of motherhood entailed all of that and more, and they never received a dime of compensation.
And we all collective say ‘Awww.’
While a typical writer’s job description may not be quite as thankless, we’re in the same ballpark. If you ran a author’s job search on Monster, you might find a description that looked similar to this:

Literary Storyteller aka Midnight Muse aka Neurotic Keyboard Typer

Character Qualifications (as defined by myself or Urban Dictionary)

  • Tenacity- the ability to keep going no matter how many times you’ve been punched in the face, atomic wedgied, and kicked in the shin
  • Aptitude- natural passion and understanding of a subject, nurtured by consistent dedication to your craft at the expense of a social life
  • Naivety- the act of being naive, but to a whole new level, especially in their belief of gaining any type of success in their first five years of writing
  • Foolhardiness- think of the guy in zombie movies who decides to hunt for the food in the creepy grocery store, even though every other cast and audience member screams at him it’s a horrible idea
  • Long Suffering- an annoying period of time you have no choice but to deal with

Position Responsibilities

  • Spending hours every day, starting at a blinking cursor determined to mock your lack of progress and writing talent
  • Constant willingness to accept feedback and criticism of your work, even though only the love of an actual child can compare to how close the story is to your heart
  • Networking with every other writer and expert in your field, shamelessly asking to exploit their connections
  • Honing the artist prowess of Shakespeare (story craft) and combining it with the business savvy of Mark Cuban (publishing)

Few things are rewarding as putting a smile on someone’s face with a story well told (this week I got a single line email saying ‘I am literally having to set a timer so I don’t get lost in your book. Bravo!), but prospective applicants beware, the job is designed not to just kick your butt, but go old school, angry nun paddle-board on it.

P.S. Have you heard the news? Tyrants and Traitors is ‘gripping, a thoroughly immersive saga replete with surprises, a hint of the supernatural, and fast-paced action.’ Midwest Book Reviews. Order it any where books are ordered October 10th!

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