When I took formal acting lessons in my 40s, the instructor said, "You might have a shot at a career. Most of your competition gives up by the age 30." Well, just as with stand-up comedy, that career path was fun to try out. Eventually, as I had many times before, I returned to writing as my profession.
For so many of us, writing is an amazing way to make a living. We get to read, think, analyze and put it all together in provocative ways.
But, just as with acting and other artistic career paths, it has become more difficult to enter and land well-paying work in the field of writing. Regularly, I get email from those representing all generations. They want to know my take on if they should give up on the dream of being or remaining a writer who can also pay the bills.
My response is: Be smart about all this. And you can leverage the skill into whatever. By "smart" I mean opportunistic.
Just as in Silicon Valley, in the world of scribes you can't plan. Instead you do A/B Testing. You try this and your try that. For a while something works. Then it doesn't and you try out other approaches to earning a living.
Executive communications tanked at the turn of the century. To stay in communications, some of us learned to write commercial scripts for video. I learned social media. Others, who continue to do the best in terms of earnings, became experts in placing articles and scheduling interviews with the media.
Then executive communications came back. Some of the former ghostwriters/speechwriters tried to return to the field and couldn't. Others, like myself, added that back on the menu of what we provide. And some continued in related lines of work such as teaching, tutoring or scoring writing.
Evidence of that is the rapid growth of ghostwriting mills for college term papers and more sophisticated work on the graduate level. Incidentally, for those who have no ethical problem with doing that kind of work, there is plenty of it. The compensation ranges from $8 to $15 a page. More for rush assignments. And much more if you have STEM expertise.
On the other hand, writers who resist becoming smart will become embittered. They have in their mind's eye an abstract idea of what the writing life is supposed to be. When that doesn't pan out, they take refuge in blaming, including the marketplace. It's never the marketplace. It's we writers who can't or won't be totally opportunistic.