Why Writing Is Not Considered A Real Career Choice In India

For most authors, writing doesn’t pay as well as a salaried job. You write a book, send it to a publisher, and wait for your contract. If the book does moderately well, you get some royalty.

One of my friends, who is still a student, showed me the cheque for her book contract. The contract was from a new publisher and it wasn’t even good enough to cover her expenses of editing the manuscript. It is difficult to gather money for pre and post publishing services if publishers don’t wish to spend on writers. With the rising (and soon falling) trend of self-publishing, you’d be lost in oblivion without proper social media marketing strategies and services.

The avenues for making money through writing seem very narrow and murky despite the surge of writers in India. You’d be lucky if you manage to write an exceptional book and luckier if you’re able to find a reputed publisher who’d take care of your marketing.

If I talk about the current situation in India, one can definitely observe a rise in the number of writers. But then, how many times do you come across an Indian author whose name sounds familiar? Happens rarely, right?

Apart from a few popular ones like Jhumpa Lahiri, Arundhati Roy or Chetan Bhagat we don’t know many names. This in itself talks about the basic problem our country faces. Here, taking up an ‘out of the league’ career option is still a taboo. However, a lot has changed over the last decade with people making career choices purely based on their area of interest. But they really don’t get any support, financially or emotionally.

While it is risky to take the plunge, at the same time, it is necessary. None of us would want to regret a decision that we took based on what society thinks about us. But at the same time, be wise. Don’t take a leap of faith. It is necessary to understand and first find out if you really write so exceptionally at all.

If one writes as a hobby, it doesn’t matter much. But for those who wish to make a career out of it, the scenario is entirely different. There are many struggling writers who can give you advice on how to go about it, but they definitely warn you about the drawbacks. For instance, I’ve been given the suggestion to always keep an alternative as it is easier to fail than to succeed in this area.

Also, the writing career is so diverse. If we talk about content writing, it could mean writing about a bakery item or it could mean writing about some technical stuff or writing about a travelling experience if you’re lucky enough to make it as a travel blogger. To decide what suits best is difficult. It is mostly about experimenting and taking a risk. But one must start somewhere.

However, taking up content writing as a career in India is a great choice. Someone who is proficient in any language and well-versed with the art and style of writing digital content for diversified online portals must go for it.

I’ve heard that society looks down on writers. I believe the main reason for this is that we associate the reputation of a person with the job they do. Just because somebody works at a big tech company, earning millions and the other is a writer who is just making enough to make ends meet, is no reason to compare.

It is important to motivate an artist. It is not always necessary to care about the end result. Though taking up such a career option is challenging and risky, it is still worth taking.

I’d like to sum up by quoting Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken”:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”


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