Monday, June 29, 2009

The Co-existence of Day Jobs and Writing

Day job getting you down? Here are two excellent pieces that address the difficulties of balancing writing with the need for steady income:

First, from the Dr. Sue column from Buzz, Balls & Hype:

“Most writers, published or not, have day jobs, and my admittedly unscientific research suggests that about 35% actively loathe them and another 35% merely tolerate them. …

“There does not appear to be one particular type of work that suits writers as a group. However, most of the jobs that fall into the "loathed" category seem to entail wearing a suit and pretending to care about corporate goals. (If you actually support your company's mission, that is great, but writers in particular seem to find the pressure to project a false persona excruciating.)

“The jobs that range from "tolerable" to "great" vary according to the writer's personality and temperament. The three major divides seem to be: writing vs. not writing, solitude vs. company, and money and prestige vs. freedom….”

Read the rest here.

And, second, “How to Keep Your Day Job from Killing Your Writing Career,” is from a screenwriting blog by David Anaxagoras:

“Like most writers waiting for their big break, I have a day job. I have, in fact, had a day job for a long, long time1.

“There are many dangers inherent in leading this double life. It’s easy to lose focus and let writing take a back seat. This is because the day job is more immediate, though not necessarily more important. Plus, in a job you often have other people depending on you, whereas in the early stages of a writing career, the only person you’re likely to disappoint is yourself. And unlike the seemingly endless process of writing and rewriting, a day job often brings the immediate rewards of cash and a sense of accomplishment, of actually having done something.

“Not all jobs are satisfying in and of themselves. But even bad jobs become an excuse to not write. Because we’re tired, drained, or don’t have any time left over for ourselves.

“That’s why we have make a concentrated effort to make writing a priority in our lives. Writing is not the default behavior for the human animal. It’s way down the list on the hierarchy of needs, for one thing. If we want it to happen, we have to make it happen. On purpose.

“So I offer here a few humble suggestions for putting your writing at the center of your life….”

Read the rest here.


DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.