Today I'm talking about why having a day job can be very helpful for a writer. Now, first let me say, if I could afford to not have a day job-I would. Even with all the cool things I'm about to mention. I would be a stay at home writer in a heartbeat. But, that's not my situation--so I work and write.
Most writers don't make enough to support themselves and their families. Many of the ones who are stay at home writers have a spouse who can support them-or are receiving retirement benefits. Yes, this does mean that most of the fine folks you see in your favorite bookstore are not supporting themselves from the written word.
But, that's not all bad.
I have come to realize how helpful my day job has been for my writing:
1) Stability- I work Monday- Friday, same 40 hours each week. I know how much money I'll get each month, and that I have health insurance. I KNOW what I need to do to be successful at my job. There isn't the guesswork of how much I'll make and if I'm doing something wrong.
2) Support outside of family-I am lucky in that I really have a great group of folks I work with. They may not understand my mad need to write, but they support it. My boss set up my very first booksigning/ book party, in the lobby of our office before hours. It was wonderful, amazing, and I will never forget it.
3) It uses another part of my brain. I've always been more right brained- my GRE scores were very high for verbal, average for math, but high for logic.My day job is extremely left brain- very much logic and math. It is so different from writing that it acts as a mental refresher. I'm excited to write in the morning before work, lunch time, after work, because it's so different.
I'm sure there are more, but this gets the idea across. My having to have a day job has actually made me a better writer. For those of you thinking you can't have a writing career while you still work a day job, I say GO FOR IT! You'll have to work your butt off, it's akin to having two full-time jobs, but do it.
You'll be surprised at the results.
Happy IWSG day!