Bylines Rule Everything Around Me: 49 Struggles Young Writers Face

by Julia Jacobo
Warner Bros. Television

Every woman under the age of 30 who dreamed of moving to the Big Apple had the "Sex and the City" fantasy in her head; it's the Carrie Bradshaw Effect.

But, it doesn't take long to realize that a walk-in closet on the Upper East Side filled with Manolo Blahniks is as likely as unicorn-pulled buggies in Central Park.

Those determined enough to make it in New York City must resolve themselves to a lifetime of hard work.

We don't get the same luxuries as those who grew up with parents in the five boroughs, New Jersey or Long Island.

We have to work twice, maybe three times as hard to get here. And staying?

That's a whole different playing field.

Sure, maybe if you've picked a career in a traditionally lucrative field, like finance, law or medicine.

You'll be able to make it just fine. Yes, those vocations require hard work, too.

But what about the creatives? What about the artists, Broadway stars and aspiring fashion designers and singer-songwriters?

High rents and scarce work are forcing us onto the fringes of the city.

Or maybe even to smaller, less-obtrusive places like Dallas, Nashville, Sacramento and Atlanta, where the standard of living is high and the rent is low.

Native New Yorkers are often flabbergasted at new New Yorkers' insistence to live in the city (my boyfriend, who grew up on Central Park West but now resides in the Bronx, is one of them).

But, I left sunny Florida for one thing only: New York City.

Commuting an hour or more each way from Queens, Brooklyn or the Bronx just wasn't part of the life I dreamed of.

If I can't live like Carrie Bradshaw, I can at least walk the historic, picturesque streets like she did — except in Toms instead of Choos.

No one has time to get slowed down by sky-high stilettos. Not only that, but you may get trampled by a fast-walking businessman or stroller-wielding nanny.

Carrie had plenty of struggles, but a 30-something writer has a lot more insight, experience and resolve than a 20-something writer.

We're still in our trial-and-error phases, trying to wade through the murky waters of a concrete jungle.

Here are the 49 struggles every young writer faces:

1. Getting jealous when your friends/classmates get published.

2. Constantly refreshing the link to see how many likes/favorites/retweets your story got.

3. Getting frustrated when the publication doesn't include your handle as it tweets your story.

4. Getting story ideas in the shower.

5. Getting story ideas when your phone is dead and you don't have a pen on you (breaking the number one cardinal writing rule).

6. Trying to keep love interests/subjects who read your work as anonymous as possible.

7. Trying to be as nondescript as possible when complaining about your friends and family, so no one can figure out it's them you're complaining about.

8. Sitting at Starbucks with your MacBook trying not to look like a cliché.

9. Writing about things you don't care about to keep your portfolio current.

10. Taking notes on your iPhone so furiously, people think you're having a text fight.

11. Wondering what your family will think when they read your work.

12. Wanting to write for a living, but being afraid of being homeless.

13. Not being in the mood to write 90 percent of the time. Inspiration hits when it hits. How are you supposed to make money off THAT?!

14. Your cat walking back and forth over your keyboard just as you get into the groove (not sure if this is a cry for attention or if they just like the feeling of stepping on the keys).

15. Hoping you'll win the lottery so you can leisurely write (or avoid writing) all day.

16. Using Pinterest as inspiration for your dream office/library one day.

17. Always critiquing/internally editing your peers' writing, even if it's just an email. No way to turn it off.

18. Getting annoyed when someone else tries to correct your grammar. WHO's the writer here?

19. Trying Ernest Hemingway's "write drunk, edit sober" advice and realizing you're just not skilled enough to accomplish such a task. Or maybe, you just drink too much. (Who can even look at a computer screen when you have the spins. Am I right?)

20. Being both arrogant and insecure about your work. (Professor Foley was right — shout out to the University of Florida's journalism school!)

21. Constantly arguing that you are, in fact, an artist. Probably overcompensation for the fact that you can't draw or paint worth a damn.

22. Constantly checking Twitter and falling for clickbait posts.

23. Reading more than you write.

24. Daydreaming more than you write.

25. Realizing you are an idealist. Why can't the world follow suit?

26. Always questioning your talent.

27. Finding any excuse not to write.

28. Developing a weird habit that you must do before you can concentrate (I have to clean before I sit down to write or else no writing will occur).

29. Having the wildest fantasies of winning a Pulitzer Prize while writing for The New York Times or Washington Post.

30. Actively avoiding over-promoting your work. If they see it, they see it.

31. And then secretly getting mad at your besties for not noticing your story.

32. Wondering if anyone other than your family is reading your work.

33. Getting inspiration from the weird things (crying baby, old songs and humid weather have been winners for me).

34. Your computer crashing when you're almost done and the last time you saved was never.

35. Writing during your day job and getting frustrated when a coworker/boss ruins your groove with a legitimate request.

36. Having to stop yourself from writing up a firestorm every time your significant other pisses you off. (But what an eloquent, electric firestorm that may be!)

37. Getting a great idea and then losing it before you even have a chance to get it on paper.

38. Admiring your byline, bio and headshot multiple times a day #narcissistalert.

39. Considering yourself above bloggers and citizen journalists. Just because someone has a blog does not make him or her a professional writer.

40. Feeling sheepish when your editor removes the curse word you so carefully worked into your story.

41. Subsisting alone on coffee, tea, cold-pressed juices, whatever your fancy. You're too busy typing to eat solid food.


43. Wondering if the meteorologist at your summer internship was right when instructing you to "change your major while you can."

44. Reading a peer's work and thinking, "I can't do so much better than that."

45. Reading a peer's working and thinking, "Wow. I'll never be as good as this."

46. Wondering if you should sell out and get a job in finance.

47. Procrastinating until the last moment because you know you can get it done on time (or because you love the exquisite torture of tempting fate).

48. Feeling your head get more and more inflated with every compliment on your work.

49. Being so satisfied with the final product and Internet praise and realizing that all the angst, weird habits and hard work is all worth it in the end.