Choosing a career as a writer, whether in journalism or creative writing, can come at a high personal cost.

LIMITED MONETARY REWARD. For most writers there is little monetary gain. Pay rates are often low in relation to the hours it takes to produce a good piece of writing. You may struggle to make a meager living unless you are one of the lucky few like JK Rowling (whose early struggles were huge).

LONG, WEIRD HOURS. A writing career requires long, and often unconventional hours of work. Because many writers require plenty of quiet time, they often do their best in the early moring hours or late at night when they can minimize distractions from family and friends. A few— like accaimed contemporary author Elliot Ackerman—do their best work in crowded restaurants. But that may be the exception.

LONLINESS. You must spend many many hours and days in mental and/or physical isolation. To write a 300-page book, whetehr fiction or nonfiction, can take a year or more to complete and edit. And that considers that you write at least four or five days a week for three to five hours or more. Of courese, some writers might turn out a full-length book in six months, but I’d question the quality of a story turned out that fast.

REJECTION REQUIRES A THICK SKIN. You are very likely to face many, many rejections, or no response at all on the way to finding a publisher.

CHANCE OF PUBLICATION IS LOW. The odds of securing a publisher for your work, even with a literary agent, are pitiful.

NEVER STOP. But don’t stop. Don’t ever stop. Write because you love to write. Write because you are compelled to write. Write because you have something to say. While there are difficult hurdles to becoming a successful author, the final rewards are huge—even if you don’t land a publishing deal. Write for yourself, for the inner satisfaction of knowing that you completed something that was important for you. If you write with all your might and heart, you will find gratification if just one reader hears your thoughts and words and is touched by what you say.

Keep writing.