It’s been a bit of a crazy week, in part because I’m away next week and I’ve been trying to tie things up. I’m looking forward to my week in London, meeting with our publishing colleagues there (and hopefully seeing some sights, too).
But something came up this week that comes up rather often: authors and day jobs. First, I had a conversation with an author about her upcoming books and her current work situation, and whether she wanted to change that. She’s trying to decide if the security and distraction of the day job are more important than having all her time for writing. Shortly after that, my lovely client Anne Jamison tweeted a link to this newly discovered letter from Oscar Wilde, in which he advises a young writer that the best artists are those who don’t do it for a living.
I have pretty strong feelings on the subject, and they haven’t changed much since this blog post from (gulp) 2006. I don’t think my advice has changed at all, and the only thing I’d add to what authors worry about is Twitter and other social networking.
While it’s wonderful to make a living doing what you love to do, I think the benefits of most jobs (and benefits at most jobs) often outweigh the freedom. As author Sara Zarr points out in that old blog post, it’s not even necessarily either/or. Sometimes one can figure out a way to keep their job in a modified fashion to allow for the best of both worlds: security on the one hand, and freedom on the other. Especially in these uncertain economic times, playing it safe seems the wise way to go.