The Good (and the Bad) of Being a Writer With a Day Job

There is only a smallish group of people who can earn their keep doing what they truly love. If what you love is writing or anything else arts-based, this group becomes even smaller. Unless you’re independently wealthy or are supported by someone who earns enough for both of you, you have to get what we call, a day job. Bummer right? You’d rather be writing and this just gets in the way. Well yes and no. There some advantages to it (and I’ll be honest, some downsides too).

You can still exercise your skills

There are plenty of jobs that involve writing and many writers do them. Copywriter, editor, proof-reader, speechwriter, columnist, journalist – the list is pretty much endless. So you can earn a crust and still write – not bad.
On the other hand – you won’t be writing what you truly love, and after doing it all day long it can feel a bit much to get home and…do it even more.

You get out of the house

If you work from home this is muted somewhat! But most regular jobs involve a certain amount of contact with a) the great wild world, and b) other people. And though it may not always seem like it, this can be a beneficial thing. All humans need a modicum of human contact and fresh spaces to explore. Being stuck in a room writing all day doesn’t easily lend itself to that.
On the other hand – People can be hard work and the outside can be cold, wet and far too busy.

You gain life experience

Writing requires bucketloads of imagination – but it’s also influenced by the world around us. Yes, you’ve set your story in 2389 amongst a group of rebelling space miners – but you still want relatable characters right? Every day you’re at work provides fresh inspiration for characters, scenes, and especially dialogue. If you aren’t already, take a step back and observe (but don’t get creepy, no-one likes that).
On the other hand – Fresh inspiration can distract you from your Work In Progress with Newer! Better! Bigger! ideas. Sigh. Author life is tough.

You can take a break from writing

Especially if you’re not working in an area that really requires you to use that skill. But any day job gives you the chance to explore different talents. And you can switch off for a bit – from writing I mean, not your job. It takes a lot of brainpower to write and having a break lets you come back to it fresh.
On the other hand – give a job an inch, it’ll take a mile. Your precious mind resource can get so caught up in thinking about work your writing suffers.

So having a day job isn’t all bad and don’t forget – you’re not alone. Tons of people are all facing the same issues you are. What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments.

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9 thoughts on “The Good (and the Bad) of Being a Writer With a Day Job

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  1. I think the hardest part is motivating your tired self to write after getting home late. You feel like you don’t have enough time. That said, I’m a fan of getting some writing in on your lunch break.

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  2. Honestly, as much as I would like to just stay home forever and write, one of the reason I love having a day job is to get out of the house! Without it, not sure I would ever leave?? It’s good to have my limits pushed, and my job(s) do that for me, even though I’d prefer to stay on my couch and write.

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    1. Are you me!? This is a big thing for me as I could so easily become a hermit. I work from home a couple of days a week and the days after I find I need to get out. Of course a few less hours at the day job would still be nice! Thanks for your comment!

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  3. Luckily, I have a husband who makes enough on his own that I can afford to write. Also, we have a dog but not a fenced yard. So she has to be walked at least three times a day. Gets me out of the house and meeting up with other dog walkers and people out in their yards. We have regular routes which involve stops for treats at certain houses. Trying to get Maddie to bypass one of those is nearly impossible. The upshot is, I have enough time to write even if with all the housework, laundry, grocery shopping and the like. I am blessed in that I can do what I love. I’m grateful to my husband for not complaining about finances and consider myself to be supremely lucky. Having written all that, I do agree with all that you wrote. I’ve think you’ve said it all very nicely and well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comment and I’m not jealous at all! 😉😀 Your dog walks sound like they could be very useful when you need thinking time too. Everyone is different. I don’t have kids or caring responsibilities so have more time than those that do. And at the end of the day, time is great but nothing can write the story for you!


    1. You’d need to make yourself go out certainly. I know someone who writes full time and she goes out for research, visits people or has people over so she doesn’t get stuck in a rut. Even published writers often have to work anyway, as the pay isn’t brill. I think my ideal would just be to work a bit less, to balance with my writing more.

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