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Careers: Writing/Giving up dreams?


My dream is to one day make my own novel/comic book,and make enough money to live off of that. Knowing that most of my idea's aren't what the public wants which is crap apparently (Twilight/50 shades of Grey) I want to know how do I get into the writing business particularly (as a person that lives in Chicago near the loop/ that has no connections)?

Also on a more personal note I work at Walmart and it sucks, I want to have a career that could support me so I can finally move out of my parents house. I'm thinking of becoming a teacher,
but my fiancee thinks if I do this I would be giving up on my true dreams. My fiancee talks about having part-time jobs and drawing commissions for rent. But even great artist only make $100 per month.
(I don't want to follow the same path as his mother, she did what she loved and she is now in a miserable financial state. Also there are many people that write and draw darn good web-comics, but they never get published outside of free websites which scares me)

Right now I'm confused, would me being a teacher really stop me from achieving my dream of being a novelist/comic book artist + writer?

I want to be a teacher only to do a job that could be a career (it's not my passion, but I like helping others and learning)
For me it's like practice my writing/art skills and be working at Walmart/in a restaurant/(insert crappy job here),or would I'd rather practice my writing/art skills, and have a career that can support me just in-case I didn't want to still be living with my parents when I'm 30. I would appreciate your help! Thank you!!

Dear Amber -
First of all, how great is your fiancee that he believes in your dreams?
Second of all, working at Walmart must totally suck. I'm sorry.
Now, to the main issue: your creative work.

Are you writing now? Do you have a notebook that you always carry with you? Are you constantly making notes about a project (or projects)? Do you have a project outlined? Have you finished a rough draft of anything? If so, great, then you ARE a writer, you are just frustrated because you want to devote more time to it. If not, get to work! These are the things that make your creative dreams real; the daily (or weekly) work of translating ideas into black and white on paper (words and/or images, it doesn't matter). If you really want to write, you should be doing it whenever you find a spare minute. Do a sketch on your break. Squeeze in an hour of writing before work or during your lunch hour. Writers write, whenever and however they can.

Most people aren't able to devote all day every day to their creative pursuit. If you really want to write, you should write, no matter what else you do. Writing in addition to any kind of full-time job is extremely challenging, but if as you say your ideas aren't hugely commercial, then you have to find some way to support yourself so you don't have to compromise your artistic vision. But almost every artist or writer has some kind of job to pay the rent. Aaron Sorkin wrote his first play "A Few Good Men" on cocktail napkins while bartending, so it can be done even under very distracting circumstances if your will is strong enough. So is your will strong enough?

Becoming a teacher won't stop you from achieving your dream, but it will take up time and energy. Working at Walmart also takes time and energy, but sounds like it doesn't pay enough to support you. So, unless your fiancee is willing to support you, you have to make some money doing something.

This is a slightly general answer to a broad question. Please feel free to follow up with more specific questions. And let me know how far along you are and on which projects.

Write on.


"How To Be A Writer Who Writes"  

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Greg Miller


I can answer questions about writing and the creative process in any form or genre. I have been a writer and writing coach and teacher for 15 years, working with NY Times bestselling authors and absolute beginners on memoirs, screenplays, TV scripts, solo shows, personal essays and standup comedy.


I'm the author of "How To Be A Writer Who Writes" ( and the writer's reference book "Miller's Compendium of Timeless Tools for the Modern Writer" ( I have taught at UCLA Extension, Humber College, Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, Cal Arts, NY Institute of Technology, Teen Canteen and numerous arts and cultural centers. I am co-director of The Comedian's Way Workshop for Writers, Performers and Other Humans, which I have taught privately with Beth Lapides in Los Angeles for 15 years. I have been coaching writers privately for almost 10 years. I have also worked as a writer and producer for TV, film, stage, radio and online media.


LA Weekly, Writers Digest, Omni, Premiere, CBC, NPR

NYU, BA in History/Journalism

Past/Present Clients
Jillian Lauren, Andrea Martin, Jessica Bendinger, Steve Barancik, Scott King

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