Tips on How to Make a Living as a Writer

Today, I want to talk to you about my experiences as a Japanese writer living in America. It is hard to make a living as a writer in any culture, let alone in a second language and in a second country. But I think there are some universal things you can do to be successful in writing as a career, so let me share them with you today!

 

The first is to work on your skills, to practice and practice, so that you will be able to write quickly whenever you need to, and whenever you have a deadline or an assignment come up in tight parts of your schedule. It is important to keep your mind nimble so that the words can come pouring out as soon as you start typing, and I also think it is important to keep up with your typing skills so that there is no delay between your brain and what appears on the screen in front of you.

I have found that many of the challenges of making a living as a writer are due to the fact that you are working by yourself at a computer. If you are on your own and facing deadlines it is very important to limit distractions and achieve a solid focus on the internet because it is full of traps that will make you waste hours of time when you could have been working and earning money. I do not allow myself to check social media sites until after working hours (5:00 PM), and that helps a lot since the other sites I go on a lot are news, and that is good for getting ideas for my writing.

 

It is much easier to write in any genre or publication if you have a source of good material to write about already in your head. This is why I think it is important to absorb news as much as possible so that you can have a range of topical information and popular opinions to draw on, as well as a constant flow of stories. You must read a lot, even when you are having a hard time finding free time, and keep your ears perked for cool topics and sources that you can easily use when someone asks you for an article or two.

 

Likewise, I think it is important to keep writing no matter how much you are being paid to write. It is a skill that takes practice and even if you are already a very good writer, being able to make yourself write for most of every day will finesse your skills and make you faster at what you do. You should not be afraid to try different genres, write as much as you can, then focus on getting paid for it. I think this is the best approach, so that it is always more important in your mind to love writing instead of always focusing on the profit aspect of things.

This is why it is so important to have discipline in your writing practice. I suggest that you find a good office setup for yourself where you can pretend that you have gone into a space that is not your living and relaxing space. You need to have a space that you mind associates with being productive and set strict hours so that you will stay on track and consistently produce written work. That has been one of the hardest and yet most fulfilling parts of my growing career so far.
This is by no means a complete list of everything you have to do to have a career in writing, but it is most of the key things that I think have helped me to get where I am in life, so I hope they help you, too!

How I Renovated my Bathroom on a Budget by Myself

I have been living in America for several years now, but this is the first year I have owned my house officially by myself! It is a very exciting time. I enjoy being able to make whatever changes I please to my space and to truly make it feel like home instead of a temporary abode like my past apartments and rented houses.

 

Today, I will share with you the story of how I renovated my bathroom recently, all by myself and on a budget. I have never even a great DIY person, but I am learning gradually and I am very pleased with the results so far.

 

The first thing I did was to take the walls of my shower down because they were horrible old tiles that I suspect had been there for several decades. I wanted to use some nice painted tiles from Japan that reminded me of my mother’s old bathroom, which is very historical and beautiful, but the tiles are very expensive to import here to America. What I ended up doing was to mix up a lot of cheap, plain tiles with decorated ones to come up with a pattern that is like a decorated plate around the rim, when the middle is left empty. I think it is a very smart compromise because it has the flavor of home and some beautiful blue dragon tiles but without being too intense, like a good blend of East and West! I estimate that I saved about 75% of the cost by using the plain tiles alongside the nicer decorative ones!

 

I also took up all the grout and sealant around my shower and bathtub and redid it. I find that no matter how clean you keep a bathroom, when I rented apartments, old grout always made the place feel disgusting and I wanted to have a fresh start with this house now that I own it myself. So I took up all the grout and installed a fresh coat, or layer, or however one refers to grouting. Once I had the grout and tile done, my shower looked much brighter and nicer.

The next thing I did was to replace the fixtures for the sink and the shower since I was left with very old, very corroded old fixtures that I did not feel comfortable using, and they looked very degenerate anyway. I decided upon an inexpensive shower head that doesn’t use as much water as many American showers, only 1.5 gallons per minute. It is made by a company called High Sierra, and I got it for less than $10, which I consider a miracle. It isn’t quite as attractive as I might like, but I suspect it will last a long time, and I can always get another one when companies start to make some water-saving ones that are also more ornate in fashion to match my tiling.

 

More than any other changes, I found that the new paint on the walls made the bathroom truly feel new and clean, like a blank slate for me in my new home. I have chosen a gentle sandstone color that works very well with the blue tile and with my white shower floor, sink, and toilet. Eventually, I will probably redo the floors, but for now, they look fine enough with a good mopping to get rid of the years of dirt they had between the boards when I moved in.

I have some more ambitions for my bathroom, to use recycled wood to make a medicine cabinet above my sink, upon which I want to install an antique mirror that I found by the side of my street several months ago and saved. But that is for another post. All in all, I think I have done very well for working on a tight writer’s budget!