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‘Writer and Photographer’ or ‘Writer or Photographer’?

My business card designates me a ‘writer and photographer’. That’s OK, that is what I am. But, there’s a catch to having two strings to my bow. How much time do I spend on my photography — making pictures, uploading them to my computer, processing them, sending them off to photo libraries — and how much time do I dedicate to my writing?

Now, don’t get me wrong, having the two abilities has helped me sell a good many articles. Of the hundreds of articles I have had published I can only think of a handful that sold without my photographs accompanying them. Equally, the number of photographs that have sold without my words is very, very small.

So, what am I complaining about? It’s not so much a complaint rather than a dilemma that I am facing. As the magazine market, especially in that part where I used to sell most of my articles, struggles with its identity in this digital age it is getting harder to make the all important sale. For example, a photography magazine for which I wrote regularly has merged with another from the publisher’s stable which immediately had the effect of twice as many writers competing for half the space.

And photographs that used to sell through my library for three figure sums now are fetching low two figure amounts.

I have started writing short non-fiction e-books which are selling but at very low prices.

The time has come for me to really take stock of where my creativity needs to take me. Which is why I am asking myself how I split my time between my writing and my photography.

You see, I do enjoy my photography but its returns are minute and I would like to have a go at fiction but that doesn’t include photography. I can hear my friends and family muttering ‘marketing’ which they know I am not good at. Maybe they are right. Maybe I shall have to find out!

There is, of course, no one answer and what suits me may not suit you. It is something that I, and probably many like me, will have to grapple with and our results are likely to be quite different.

I’ll try to let you know where I end up.

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