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!
I'm a full-time writer now, which is lovely, but I do at times miss working with other people. Also, there's something about having fewer hours to write that can actually urge you to be more productive. It's easy to procrastinate and faff about when you have so much time on your hands.ReplyDelete
Very true! I know that some day (when my book earnings can equal or come close enough to my day job earnings and health benefits ;)) I'll take that step. I'll be happy, but it will also be very different! Thank you for coming by!Delete
I've always been highly left brained, which is good since I'm a research chemist at my day job, but as I've worked more and more on writing, I find that i'm moving more toward a balance between left and right--at least according to the tests I've taken recently.ReplyDelete
Very interesting- and sort of the opposite of what my day job is doing to me. Our brains are more malleable than we think as adults! Thanks for coming by- it's always good to see your comments :).Delete
Same as you, I'd love to not have to work, but I appreciate the paycheck (so does my mortgage company), the work colleagues, and opportunities to use different parts of my training and skills. I have to be social with my job with customers and writing can be solitary.ReplyDelete
Here's my August IWSG post on my first novel attempt (note I said ATTEMPT). YA Author Stephanie Scott IWSG August
LOL- it's so funny how those banks REALLY like us working ;). But yes, there are so many other aspects to a day job that can help us as writers (along with the whole money thing ;)). Thanks for coming by!Delete
I'm sure that some of the people you deal with in your day job provide ideas for your stories. Reactions you'd never have thought of. Turns of phrases that just beg to be written down.ReplyDelete
True! The biggest thing is names. Now, I have only used one I took from work, but have found more and might use them someday! Working on a very large campus does give you a lot of naming options! Thank you for coming by- always great to see you here!Delete
All good reasons to work. I work for the money and because its strenuous. :-)ReplyDelete
Anna from elements of emaginette
Money yes, strenuous...I'm a very lazy person by nature (can't be because I've decided on this whole writing gig ;)) but strenuous doesn't sound fun ;). Thanks for coming by, Anna!Delete
I hear you! The writing refreshes me too. Granted, I don't work outside the home, but teaching 4 kids all day every day should probably count as a more than full-time job, right?ReplyDelete
Definitely! You have a few full time jobs there :)- Good luck and thank you for coming by!Delete
Great attitude towards holding down a day job and still finding time to write!ReplyDelete
It's so true that you can be highly productive in the limited time you have to write. Lots of writers who are in a similar position agree.
Happy IWSG Day!
Thank you! It was a defense mechanism--a lot of my local writer friends are stay at home writers and I had to make myself feel better somehow! I do believe it helps though :). Thanks for coming by!Delete
Having the stability of a full time job is nice, but I would definitely be a full time writer if I could. Maybe someday...ReplyDelete
Heck yeah!Although, it's odd. Now that I think about it--even if I could write full time, I might take up a part-time job for the reasons above! ;). Thanks for coming by!Delete
I honestly think I'd get more writing done if I did have a normal, scheduled day job. As a mom of 4 and running a small cattle farm, things constantly pop up breaking any momentum that I get going. Plus, it'd be great to get around other ideas and people more often. Wonderful silver lining in the cloud!ReplyDelete
Thank you! I can imagine the craziness you face everyday- good for still writing! Thanks for coming by!Delete
I've found the more time I have, the more time I waste. But a full-time job (besides writing) can suck all your energy. I'm glad you've found a balance. Best wishes.ReplyDelete
Thank you :). I do feel like it's a constant balancing act. But I need the day job to survive, I need the writing to keep my sanity :). Thanks for coming by-always good to see you!Delete
I love your benefits of working. It's so true. You'd be gaining so much inspiration, stretching your brain in different directions, and interacting with lots of different kinds of people. That stuff is great for a healthy writer's life.ReplyDelete
Thank you :). It's easy to get caught up in the, "my friends are stay at home writers, why can't I be!" sad mantra. Then, when I started thinking about it, I realized there were benefits on this side too! Thanks for coming by!Delete
I've always been more right brain than left. I used to do fairly well in Math but only up to sequential math I or whatever they're calling it now. After that it's all gibberish and gobblydook to me. And it's only gotten worse over the years as now my math skills doesn't go any higher above fractions.ReplyDelete