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.