where the writers are
How do writers make ends meet?
How do writers make ends meet?

In this miserable economy, most of my writer friends are doing what I do: teach, scramble for freelance editing and writing work, pray, whatever works. Masha Hamilton, author of the bestselling Camel Bookmobile, has come up with a unique idea: converting part of her home into a B&B.  I've been there and it's lovely, so if anyone you know is going to Manhattan or Brooklyn, keep Sterling Bed and Breakfast in mind (www.sterlingbedandbreakfast.com). It's in a turn-of-the-century townhouse, just minutes to the subway, 15 minutes from NYC, and you can walk to the Brooklyn Museum and Botanical Gardens.  Price includes an amazing breakfast of fresh-baked sins.

I'm thinking that this would make an interesting article. If you're a writer and willing to share your survival techniques, thanks for posting here.  The question I'd love you to answer is:

How are you surviving this economy? 


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I love the bed and breakfast idea--thanks for the contact info.

I've been extremely lucky--I have a great teaching job at the University of Tennessee, and though the budget cuts are painful, my own job is not at risk.  My husband runs an institute at the university that is funded independently and not at risk.  The thing I thank God for, though, is that my daughter Heather, a recent Medill grad, got an actual job on an actual newspaper.  She does print and new media journalism.  She got in under the wire so to speak.  My husband and I went to temple when she took the job!

So, for the moment, all is peaceful and bright.

We're affected though--I can't retire as I had planned to.  There are some drawbacks to even the best of situations.  Eventually, they'll find me at my desk.   But my office is really beautiful--decorated with Native American pottery and rugs--and some Shaker art, too.  Lots of poetry books.  Not a bad place to end, if it comes to that--

Cheers, Marilyn Kallet 

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Eventually, they'll find me

Eventually, they'll find me at my desk...

 I love this...and relate to it too well!

 A relief, to be sure, to be solidly employed. I'm in San Francisco and things seem to be falling apart quickly...California has been without a budget for a frighteningly long time...it doesn't help to have Ironman Arnie as our governor.

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I just blogged about the

I just blogged about the whole economy thing, and then saw your blog. I am dealing with the mess by going to Portugal for a few months, and then regrouping when I get back. These are not easy times. My whole life is turning inside out. I never would have dreamed of going to Portugal if my class load hadn't been cut. I am sure there are lots of people whose lives are changing drastically, and I think it would make an interesting article.

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Take me with you!

What a terrific idea...leave the country. I did that once...left for 3 months and stayed away 5 years, but that's not so easy now. Would you be willing to tell...why Portugal? It's so beautiful there...sigh.

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Isn't it funny.......

How really bad economic times force people to do what they should have been doing all along? 

 Never fails.   Maybe some day we'll learn.


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You MUST explain!

So...what are you doing now that you should've been doing all along?

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Stephanie Golden

Stephanie Golden www.stephaniegolden.net

My question too!

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Stephanie, I've emailed Eric

Stephanie, I've emailed Eric and asked him to come back and respond. With the holidays, who knows when he'll get this invite!

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I'm back!

Ahh....well funny you should all mention this. I have been working on a book that addresses this very issue. As a Christmas present to Red Room, I'll attach a free sample!

From "The Spirit of the Craftsman"


Why you hate your job

Larry Plodmeister stands catatonically before the “one-armed bandit” drill press, just as he has every morning for the past twenty-seven years. Like every other machine tool at Dullco Enterprises, Larry’s drill press is painted an abysmal olive drab, barely visible through a decades-old layer of oil and metal shavings.
To Larry’s left is a greasy, swaybacked wooden bench, laden with several dozen rectangular iron plates. To his right is another identical workbench, piled high with rectangular iron plates with holes in them.
It is Larry’s purpose in life to drill holes.
When he started drilling holes twenty-seven years ago, it seemed like a good job; at least it didn’t involve flipping dead meat with a spatula. And by many standards, it still is a good job. He has a medical plan, a retirement plan, a few days of paid vacation every year, and, most importantly, the yearly Dullco company picnic, where he gets to spend quality time with other loyal Dullco hole-drillers and their lovely families.
Larry Plodmeister can’t bear the thought of drilling another hole.


Frank Freeman has often been accused of being a bum. He prefers the term “self-employed.” The truth probably lies somewhere in between. He has long since lost track of how many jobs he’s had. In his favor, he can honestly say he’s never been fired from a single job, as he had always found an excuse to quit, usually just on the verge of being promoted.
Twenty-seven years ago, Frank had an idea for an invention. He was fresh out of high school, and had very few resources for developing his creation. There were few people with whom he felt comfortable sharing his brainchild, and even those were highly skeptical.
His idea has never died, although it has fallen into a comatose state several times over the years. For nearly three decades, he has tried in vain to coerce anyone of consequence to seriously consider his idea. He is on his own.
Among other obstacles, Frank’s invention will require a significant amount of precision machining, a skill he is sorely lacking. He doesn’t have anywhere near the funds to pay for a precision machine shop to build his prototype, especially since there is no guarantee the thing will even work.
Frank realizes that if his invention isn’t going to die in obscurity along with years of yearning, he’ll have to teach himself the art of precision machining. He immerses himself in every scrap of literature he can find on the subject, and comes to the conclusion that he will have to build his own machine shop, if his lifelong dream is to ever come to pass. He knows that can be an expensive proposition, but he has to start somewhere. He finds himself at the local salvage yard, perusing surplus machine shop equipment. Among other things, he finds an oil-soaked, olive drab one-armed bandit drill press that had once been the property of Dullco Enterprises. He asks the proprietor what he wants for the drill press.
“I’m in a good mood today,” the man says. “You take that thing out of my way, and it’s yours.”
Frank sees this as a sign. He thanks the man profusely, loads the drill press on the bed of his battered pickup truck and drives it home to his garage. He spends a week degreasing, lubricating, and aligning the old relic. He paints over the olive drab with glistening candy-apple red enamel. He buys himself a new set of drill bits, stands at attention before the drill press, offers it a snappy salute, and starts practicing some rudimentary machining on some pieces of scrap iron. Hope tingles through his veins like carbonated blood as he realizes his lifelong dream is about to come to pass.
Frank Freeman can’t wait to drill another hole.


On the surface, it seems that Larry Plodmeister and Frank Freeman are performing precisely the same task: drilling holes. And yet, we plainly see that Larry Plodmeister is slowly dying, while Frank Freeman is finally coming to life. What is the difference?
As we will discover in the following chapters, Mr. Freeman is endowed with the Spirit of the Craftsman, while Mr. Plodmeister toils under the Spirit of the Age. It is the difference between life and death.

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Yes, indeed

Well, Eric, you are absolutely right. I have had unformed thoughts myself about how this economic situation might at least give me the time to write the stuff I really want to, but you really nailed it so beautifully and gave it shape and focus. Now I am inspired to become Frank not Larry.

Wishing you the same in 2009.