I love my day job. I work in the public sector (government work), and get a great sense of satisfaction out of serving the society I live in. My day job does not involve large amounts of writing, and what writing there is takes the form of briefing notes etc. The job is very demanding in terms of hours which makes it hard to fit in writing. I also have chosen to live within walking distance of my work, so no commute time to do writing (but with an hour and a half of walking each day, plenty of time to think about writing!). I have a young family – so difficult to fit writing around family activities. I do wish I had more time for writing.
However, I do not aspire to be a full time writer.
I’ve only been writing for a couple of years (late starter – I blame the mid life crisis) and I always felt obscurely guilty about the fact I didn’t want to be a full time writer. I went to a few writing courses and conventions, and there was a lot of attitude that translated to “if you are serious about your craft, your goal has to be to be a full time writer. Therefore if you don’t aspire to full time writer status, you can’t be a ‘real’ writer”. It was a bit depressing – I began to feel that I didn’t “belong” in the writing community.
Then I went to a panel session at the excellent GenreCon in Sydney Australia late last year and there was a writer that I admire saying that he loves writing, that he is absolutely serious about his craft, that he always wants to improve, that he loves being published but that he didn’t want to be a full time writer.
He loved his day job. He loved not feeling commercial pressure to make money from writing and the creative freedom that offered him. That he hoped to “break even” on his writing, but that his writing business plan had at its goal being a part time writer.
I felt good after that session, let me tell you.
So, I love my day job. I love writing. Long may they both live!
What about you?