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The LA Times has a nifty little for-fun game tracking the path to writing success. You can play it here. I scored 52 points, which meant I was “William Shakespeare: A Writing for the Ages.” Thanks for the pressure, LA Times!

They tabulated 200 responses to various questions to come up with some interesting statistics. This one in particular stuck out to me:

Bestsellers

This graph, even though it’s a small sampling size, beautifully illustrates a notion contrary to popular perception: Writing is hard. Writing success is even harder. I think people assume writers are getting published in their early 20’s and reaping the benefits for life or something. Nah, my age, 23, doesn’t even chart here. And most are getting published between the ages of 40-45 and the second highest age bracket is 30-35. The reason for this is two-fold. For one, again, writing is hard and writing well, even harder. It takes time to hone your skills and “discover your voice.” Secondly, most writers, myself included, have no idea how to navigate the business side of it and the business side of it, again, is hard to navigate.

58% of respondents do, however, make a living writing. That’s my goal. I don’t know how good of a living their living on writing profits, but it’s a living, so it’s my aim.

There’s a side graphic for “Most Influential Books in Youth.” Off the top of my head, I’d say Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn probably captured my attention the most in terms of like, whoa, this is great. But I’d have to give the nod to R.L. Stine’s series of Fear Street books. Because it made me love reading and loving to read segues quite nicely into loving to write.

One thought on “Sobering Statistics for Would-Be Writers

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