5 Reasons to love your day job…

I’m not sure about you, but I have a day job. If I were a betting girl, I’d hazard a guess that most aspiring or emerging writers do – as do a relatively large proportion of (even) mid-list established writers. Sadly, we can’t all be JK Rowling.

I’m actually quite fortunate – since moving to the Sunshine Coast, not only do I work remotely (back to Sydney), but I’ve been able to cut my hours back to 3 days a week. After years of trying to juggle my writing with a full-time role and a daily 3 hour commute (90 mins each way), this feels awfully close to being the perfect balance. Surprisingly though, I think I wrote more feverishly when I had less time to do so. Go figure.

Ultimately my goal is not only to make enough money from my writing to not only pay the bills and travel, but to have the freedom not to work for anyone else again. In the meantime, though, the day job has to take priority – and I’m grateful for it. There are, however, still days when I’d prefer to be writing. On those days I remember these things:

It pays the bills.

Well, it pays some of the bills. It buys me time until my books can pay for themselves – and support us in the manner to which I want to become accustomed…and travel for research and…you get the idea…

It allows me the freedom to self-publish

The income from my partition job means that I have the funds available to invest in self-publishing. It buys me a control over my writing career that I wouldn’t otherwise have, and allows me to work with the people that I want to work with.

It provides inspiration

Sadly some of that inspiration will never hit the page – confidentiality and all that. Besides, some of the things I’ve seen and heard in the workplace would never be believed if I wrote it in a book. Some of the characters would definitely be criticised as being too clichéd or too completely unbelievable – sad but oh too true.

I read somewhere once that 30% of your characters are based on yourself, 30% on others, and the rest on imagination. You know what they say: don’t piss the writer off – you could end up in a book…dead. All I’m saying to this is stay tuned for my cozy mystery series…

Seriously though, the experiences of the day job provide layers and realism in my creative work. My current protagonist, Callie, is in human resources. I’ve never been in an HR job before, yet in the last couple of months I’ve been relieving in a recruiting role. I’m not sure whether it’s art imitating life or the other way around. Either way the experience has meant that a lot of what I’d previously written has been, shall we say, rewritten.

It provides the drive to write

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been stuck in a spread-sheet and had the best idea for a story, or the solution to a plot problem. If only I could write full- time, I say to myself, I wouldn’t have this issue.

The truth is, having the pressure of the day job, and the need to squeeze my writing into a relatively small space has resulted in me being more disciplined and more able to set goals and deadlines and stick to them. I’ve written and published 3 books in 2 years while working a busy corporate job and juggling my daughter’s school, life etc.

I now have the freedom to write more, but seem to be more productive creatively when the partition job is at its busiest and most, shall we say, problematic. Perhaps it’s at that point when the motivation is there to motor through and get the product out there. Just saying.

It helps from a business viewpoint

I’ve learned so much about running a business from my corporate roles over the years. Over the last dozen or so years every one of my partition jobs has taught me skills that I’m absolutely using in my indie publishing business today. Skills like project management, budgeting, deadline setting (and keeping), IT know-how, business planning, strategy, and so much more.

What about you? Do you have a day job? How do you juggle the 2 parts of your life?

11 Replies to “5 Reasons to love your day job…”

  1. I also have an up to 3 hour commute per day – so I can really realte there! I’d love to work closer to home and hoping that some opportunities will arise in some future years – I know of a few things I’m keep a close eye on.

    And I can also really relate to the part time/writing thing. I was on a part time contract the other year and I did less writing with more free time. Humans are strange creatures 🙂

    I also get a lot of ideas for blogs and writing and creativity in general when I’m at work. I think there’s a real benefit to this mixed lifestyle, even if we don’t want it forever.

    1. I keep a notebook beside me the whole time I’m at work – just to capture the ideas when they turn up at inconvenient moments.

  2. It’s tough juggling a day job and writing and all the other things we have to do in life! Interestingly, i tend to be far more productive with writing now with a part-time (2-3 days) job and a toddler than i did when i worked four days a week and had three free days to write. Now i write whenever I can, and like you, i tend to write better when there’s time pressures than when i have too much time on my hands!
    Happy writing (and working) 🙂

  3. I’ve been really unhappy in my part-time job of late and most definitely have to remind myself that it’s a means to an end. It allows me to pay the bills while still giving me enough time to do what I want. Of course I’m currently grappling with the need for more money and mental stimulation which might see me tempted back into full-time employment… but hopefully only for a short period of time.

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