Writing books won't make you rich and other findings...

Lack of confidence and time hinders writers’ ability
Writing books won’t make you rich
Lots of people want to write a book but few actually get round to doing so

These were just a few of the findings from our recent survey into writers' ambitions, barriers and opportunities (if you contributed to the survey, thank you!)

Headline statistics include:

· Almost half (48%) of respondents wanted to write a book but haven’t yet got around to it, while 31% have started but not finished their book. Less than a fifth (19%) have actually started and completed their book.

· Over half (55%) of those people who hadn’t yet fulfilled their ambition to write a book had been dreaming of writing for “as long as I can remember”.  With 66 per cent of these people being over the age of 35, this equates to a lot of years of wasted time.

· Two key factors hinder writers’ progress: a lack of confidence (49%) – “I don’t think I’ll be any good” and a lack of spare time (49%).

· Publication doesn’t necessarily equate to an income. Most people earn little or nothing from their writing: 50% of published respondents said they earn under £10,000 a year from writing books, while 10% said they earn between £10,000 and £19,000 a year. The remaining 40% earned nothing at all. Overall, just a quarter of respondents generated an income from their writing.

· Many respondents understood the value of professional development with 71% participating in some sort of training. These varied from one-off talks by writers or publishers (41%) to part-time courses such as evening classes (28%), online creative writing classes or similar (25%) or residential creative writing workshops (13%) to full-time college or university courses (19%).

Balancing a love of writing with nagging self-doubt and an inability to earn enough money to survive is a constant feature in most writers’ lives, something these survey findings emphasise. We would love to see a world where both publishers and readers recognise the time, effort and skill required from writers and reward them more appropriately – i.e. pay them properly – something that will go a long way towards ensuring we all have access to a diverse creative environment. 

We were also delighted to see that so many writers had participated in some kind of training, be it a college course, evening class or residential retreat. This shows what value there is in writers coming together to network and learn from one another, as we all have our unique stories to tell.

The full survey is available to download from here - we'd love to know if you think the findings reflect your own experiences. Why not let us know in the comments below?

L’atelier des écrivains – The Writer’s Workshop, France offers a series of writing workshops in southwest France. The first workshop – aimed at beginners – takes place between 20-24 September 2018. https://www.latelierdesecrivains.com/

p.s. The winner of the signed books will be announced on Friday 10 August. Keep your eye on social media for the details! It could be you!