Writing

Two Sides to Every Coin

This is what you get for wanting to write a blog post but then waiting a week and a half to write it: you lose the source of your inspiration and thus can’t quote it when you need to. You see, I was reading…something (an article online, perhaps? maybe an interview?) where an author was discussing writing a book and in that discussion (interview, whathaveyou), they wrote about how they were okay taking the risks they took with their book because they had a financially supportive day job, so they didn’t have to worry about their book selling. Instead, they could simply write what they wanted and if it sold well, great. If it didn’t, the bills were still going to get paid, no harm, no foul.

(I know, I know, I really wish I remembered where I read this, too.)

That resonated with me, a lot. As someone who has written a trilogy that didn’t garner agent interest because it featured aspects that were considered saturated and overdone in the market (plus wasn’t up to the best writing quality, let’s be honest here) plus has another book that’s about to go out in the querying world yet also might not do well because the market’s trend is for epic fantasy right now, not urban (but can’t know for certain until you try, right?); well, let’s just say, discouraged is one emotion I’ve certainly felt, because I love these stories and of course I want them told in the world. Making money off of them would also be a bonus–those student loans don’t pay themselves. Yet with my interests apparently aligning with things that don’t sell, there is a temptation–and a desire–to try and write something that’s more marketable, so I can break into the market and make my dream of being a published author come true.

And yet…

do have a good day job, currently. Sure, I wouldn’t mind making a little more money (who wouldn’t?) and the idea of making enough money off my writing to be able to quit and write full time is dangerously appealing. Yet knowing that I have this safeguard, this job that I can count on and choose to stay at, no matter what happens in my writing career, is something I think I need to appreciate more, rather than see as a hindrance. Sure, work at a day job is a time suck. I could probably write more if I didn’t have this job. But it also provides a financial peace of mind that writing full time might not always give and gives me permission to write what I want–which I should give myself regardless, yet sometimes, that is harder said than done.

I mean, sure, while I’ve dallied with the idea of trying to come up with an idea that’s more marketable and instead just wrote whatever story was calling me at the time, the realization that I could always have my day job as my main source of income is comforting. Also, please don’t buy into the misguided societal assumption: it’s really rare for an author to make enough to be able to quit their day job in the first place, so I have no expectation to even do that, when I reach that point in my writing career. It’s just a nice, different way of thinking that I hadn’t considered before: that my day job could not just be a potential burden or additional obstacle for my writing career, but a blessing, too.

Cheers.

2 thoughts on “Two Sides to Every Coin”

  1. I like your attitude. I’d add that a day job gives a writer the opportunity to observe people, like how they talk when they’re happy or stand when they’re upset . . . all good info for a writer!

    1. Exactly! I definitely feel like, if I ever got to the point where I’d be able to work from home all the time as a full-time writer, I’d definitely have a lot less human-to-human interactions, which is so necessary for writing realistic characters!

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