Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Day Job

Many of us who call ourselves writers dream of the day when we can earn a living from only writing. It’s a fact that very few authors can write full-time. Those that do are very fortunate and I must admit I harbor just a speck of jealousy. The thrill (but also the pressure) of writing full-time may sustain those of us who can’t do so at the present time. But is working a day job really that bad?

I suppose it depends where you’re coming from. Many writers are stay-at-home mothers raising their children, or those who’ve finished raising them. We are all aware that motherhood is a full-time job and I applaud those ladies who not only nurture and care for their children, but find time to write.

For those of us who must work another job – either because we are relative newbies or just haven’t landed multi-book contracts – I’d like to provide some food for thought.  I’m in no way covering new ground here so feel free to chime in with your own thoughts.

I admit to still dreaming of writing full-time but it’s simply that – a dream. Until I actually land an agent or sign a contract, I must continue to hone my craft, to read books in and out of my genre, and to strive to be a better writer in every way. Just because someone lands a two- or three-book deal does not guarantee them the luxury of a full-time writing career. It can certainly lead to that but it’s not set in stone until they sign the next contract and the next one.

Does working a full-time job, separate from our writing career, serve a greater purpose? Can it actually improve our writing? It’s a timely topic for me as I face an impending layoff. I’ll have to hit the job hunt trail hard again. I’ll cover that further in my next post. I would love to hear your feedback on this topic.

1 comment:

  1. A couple years ago, my hours and my salary were cut by 25%. It was tough financially, but it's what got me started writing. When working 40 hour weeks, I wrote about 20,000 words in ten years. Working 30 hour weeks, with Fridays off, I wrote nearly 500,000 words in two years.

    They reinstated my higher salary and hours just when our savings ran out. The thing is, I still write as much as I did at 30 hours. I'm hooked on it now. I never would have chosen to lose that much of my income, but it was worth it. I've been very blessed that it worked out so well.

    Good luck, Kirk.