For a career day at West Towson Elementary this week, I created this Fueling the Writing Life chart. I drew old-fashioned gas pumps (which, on second glance, look kind of like thumbs). School, reading, life, arts, and traits were fairly obvious fuel categories to include. But the sixth category was maybe a bit unusual: income.
It's odd to be at a career day fair talking about a job that may not be very lucrative--or even provide a living wage. I wasn't like the engineer at the other end of the gym, or the physician beside him. I wanted the students to know that most people can't support themselves just by writing fiction, poetry, or creative nonfiction--that writers depend on other income streams, from teaching or working at a bookstore or editing or programming or doing technical writing or whatever.
This news won't discourage really committed young writers--I'm sure of that. But it will, I hope, help them plan more realistically.