Live to Write…But How Do I Live?

I just wanted to take a moment to comment on a serious issue among women playwrights (and let’s be honest, writers in general). We LOVE to write.  Maybe we even LIVE to write.


How do we LIVE?

And by “live” I mean, how do I go grocery shopping, pay my bills, put gas in my car, put a roof over my head, help support my family, buy clothes to wear, and generally SURVIVE long enough to write something?

Good question.

Because I know I’m still new at this and all, but so far I haven’t made much money as a playwright.  In fact, I have made, to date, ZERO DOLLARS as a playwright.  Reality check: I may live to write, but I cannot, at this point in time (and maybe not EVER) write to LIVE. I gotta do something else.

Hello there, teaching.  🙂

This post was probably prevelant in my mind because I recently accepted my second position teaching adjunct at a local university.  I am now an adjunct at two separate institutions of higher learning, plus I make a teeny-tiny stipend teaching playwriting classes to teenagers (and this fall, to adults!) at the local library.

What does this have to do with you, you may ask?

Eh, possibly not much.  Most of you probably already know that it takes a long time to make money doing what you love (writing, theatre, painting, etc) or that if you DO make money doing what you love, it’s not EXACTLY what you love (you may write newspaper articles instead of novels, for instance, or run a sound board instead of acting on stage).  I just wanted to throw a reminder out there not to get discouraged when it seems like what you do to “pay the bills” is eating up your life, because you never know what doors those opportunities may open.  I’m teaching a lit class this fall (yay!) and while it’s not a writing class, it’s a step in the right direction with the potential for more in the near future.

All this to say, take some time and consider your options.  If you can’t make money doing what you love, can you make money teaching what you love?  Or even teaching something you like?  I have far too many friends who completely sacrificed what they love to do in the name of needing a “practical” job that makes “decent” money.  I understand that sometimes this is necessary.  But I’ve also found that if you love something enough – if you live for it – then you’ll find a way to do it…and maybe you can even find a way to love whatever you do to live.

About dramachicky

I am a dramachick: a playwright, actress, director, wife, singer, reader, aunt, daughter, student, teacher, and dreamer. My husband has taken to calling me dramachicky. :-) I have my M.A. and M.F.A. in creative writing/playwriting from Wilkes University. My husband and I started a small theatre group in northeast Pennsylvania called Ghostlight Productions. I love all things theatre and I am thrilled to launch this blog as a celebration of women playwrights.
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3 Responses to Live to Write…But How Do I Live?

  1. There’s a good related post here: , that kind of builds on what you’re talking about. Basically it says that you can set your vision for what you want out of your life, and the tension between where you are and what you want will naturally lead you there. Good stuff 🙂

  2. mytwomothers says:

    I enjoy being a happy starving artist. Hubby works, so there’s food on the table, and no complaints from me. We were both thriving court reporters, until ten years ago, I yielded to the writing muse, quit my job and went back to school. Shopping spree days are over. I certainly don’t need new clothes, new shoes, and new handbags every other week. I’m enjoying my art, and I’m so glad I because I would have never seen so many of my short stories published, my first memoir My Two Mothers published, and ideas flowing in and out of my head on a daily basis. A few dollars made on royalties, certainly not enough to buy my husband an expensive dinner. But I’m happy, performing my art in front of a computer screen every day and working on things I’d never dream of. For instance, check out my blog, look at the wonderful literary review, second issue coming out the end of this month. To me, that’s progress in the world I want to be living in. So it doesn’t pay well right now, but you never know! Maybe some day. Check out our literary contest on You may be our next prize winner.

  3. Pingback: Writers Seek Employment (Suggestions Here) | dramachicks

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