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Keep your day job

In light of the recent Labor Day holiday, the Huffington Post posted this article about the day jobs famous authors had—and kept even after they made it big. It’s fascinating to me that people have the passion and hunger to both write and work full-time even after they become successful. I know there are tons of people out there who are finishing their first novel on nights and weekends, especially in this economy when very few people can afford to not work full-time, but it’s a whole other thing to continue to push yourself when you already have the respect, recognition, and money that comes with being a successful author. I would love to hear from you about this—do you split your time between writing and another job? Would you give up your day job if you made it big as an author?

7 Responses to Keep your day job

  1. Andrea says:

    Thanks for the link :-)

    As a writing teacher, I seem to be in good company… I work full time teaching 6-year-olds and I write in the evenings, weekends and school holidays, but I’m not a published writer yet. It’s my dream to be able to write for a living, but even if I became successful enough not to need another job, I would want to work part time to keep in touch with the world, no matter how much I love the peace and quiet of spending the day at home writing and reading. That part time job could be teaching, or voluntary work. Anything that keeps me in contact with people…

  2. CH Thomas says:

    No way, I would have to work at something. So much of what’s good about writing is experienced in life. And there is no better way in the world to experience that than to be motivated into compliance by employment. Without the grind, the peaks and the flat out obscene nature of the work place on whatever level to threaten one’s imagination, writing would be no fun at all. I think the workforce is one big cup of instant inspiration. White collar, blue color and especially people who are not related to the owners of a family owned business. Fact that’s been crafted into fiction is funnier, far more engaging and a heck of a lot scarier when you work with people who have no idea how you spend your free time.

  3. I think most of us have to keep our day jobs, whether we’d like to or not.

    But I also think that unless I became very, very (financially) successful, I’d want to keep working at least part-time. I need something to give my day some structure and I’d want opportunities to get out of the house and let my mind engage with the real world. Actually, a good part-time split between working and writing would be ideal.

  4. Years ago, I was fortunate enough to start my first small business in my chosen field, video production. It was highly successful for twenty years, and during that time, I also began writing (mostly technical documents). A few years ago, a combination of better technology and failing economy ate into my business income, reducing it by ninety percent. While most would have given up and walked away, I began to adapt and polish my skills in other areas. I revived my writing, this time, with novels and novellas. I discovered I love writing more than making films. With seven publications on Amazon, I guess I have reached a moderate level of success. Naturally, my hopes are for more, but the real love is the writing. I spend twelve hours a day working between filming and writing. No, I will never give up my day job when my new career takes off. I do what I do because I love doing it, both with making films and writing novels.

  5. Gill Avila says:

    Colin Wilson said that he liked the routine of factory work because it left his mind free to think. I tried to think the same way, but working in a factory making tanks and armored personnel carriers left me so exhausted that I would spend my days brooding about the unfortunate circumstances that led me to that situation.

  6. Kellie Lovegrove says:

    I agree with many that have already posted, I would have to keep a day job. In the last 12 years, my life has been a blur of events. I think I have gotten used to being busy that if I didn’t have my day job I would get bored. Also, I can procrastinate with the best of them. Because of my job, I know I only have so long each day to write. If I don’t take advantage of it then I might not be able to accomplish my dream of being published and, therefore, procrastination isn’t really an option.

  7. Since I have young children, I do have to consider financial stability. Having said that, if I reasonably felt that the writing could provide enough income to replace my day job, then I would go for it. The main reason is that I so many words in my head, and not enough hours to write, that I could easily spend 5 – 6 hours each day at the craft.

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