Posts Tagged ‘day job’

Day Job?

So, in theory, I’m living the author’s dream. I’m mostly a stay-at-home mom (though I do freelance and contract editing and writing part-time), so I should have plenty of writing time. Right? Isn’t that what we all want, to be able to stay home and write? To ditch the day job?

I mean, there are the mobile ones, who are a distraction and also very demanding. And there are chores (like the never-ending dishes, argh).

Still, plenty of stay-at-home parents find time for their writing. And, I mean, it’s not like I don’t get anything done.

But I recently came to the realization that this situation isn’t ideal, at least not for me. I was so much more productive when I was working full-time. I even managed 50K a month while working full-time AND doing graduate-level engineering courses. I’ve always chalked up the decrease in productivity to having kids, but now I’m wondering…

And I’m wondering if the editing/writing as a job isn’t hurting my productivity with my fiction. If I’ve spent three hours doing a content edit for a client, it can be hard to turn around and spend another two hours on my own work. If I’ve spent an hour and a half fighting with someone’s grammar, my brain can feel fried.

And maybe getting out of the house and doing something non-writing related would actually be beneficial. Maybe if I got a job doing something else, writing would be more of a reward again. I mean, I still love writing, I enjoy doing it, but sometimes the motivation just isn’t there.

There’s options here. I could:

a) Pick a different job to do on a freelance contract basis. I made a list. Some are things I already do that I’d love to do more of, if I could pick up more clients, such as book layout. I love formatting a book for print. ebook layouts are a little less fun but still enjoyable. And book layout keeps me with the books I love without eating my writing/editing brain. Others are new. Like being an audiobook narrator. I’ve got vocal training through singing and theater, so that could be really fun, and it keeps me with books. I’d also love to draw on a freelance basis, but am more lacking in skills/experience in that area.

b) Pick up a part-time job doing whatever outside of the house. Mostly I’ve been eyeing libraries and book stores. I have experience doing that (I was a library page for three years back in high school), and, same as above, keeps me near books. And gets me out of the house, which is probably a good thing.

c) Go back into the full-time work world. My college degree(s) are in aerospace engineering and mechanical engineering, and my preferred part of the production life cycle is testing, which is apparently rare, so I’d probably be able to pick up a job pretty easy, even though I’ve been out of the industry for almost seven years.

d) Go back to school for another degree. To be honest, I didn’t really like my last “real” job–the company was a bad fit for me in practically every way, and is a major reason why I went freelance instead of trying for another engineering job at the time. So I might be happier in another field (or it might have been the company). I’d like to write stories for video games, but would probably need to get a degree in video game design. Graphic design could also be fun, though, as above, I am probably lacking in skills/experience. Of course, college + mobile ones probably equals less writing time, but maybe not!

Any insight, squiders? Has anyone had success with career crises?

The Pros of a Day Job

When I tell people what I do, they say, “Oh, that must be nice, doing what you love for a living!” Well, Squiders, now that I’ve worked both sides of the line, I’m here to tell you why you shouldn’t be quitting your day jobs anytime soon.

(I will preface that if you can make enough money from selling your fiction to do that full-time, more power to you. This post is not for you, you lucky bastards.)

“But, Kit,” you say, “you get to write and edit all the time. That must be awesome!”

Here was my day, Squiders. I wrote a 1000+ word article which required about three hours of research. I proofed and content edited about 30 pages of a novel. I proofed and formatted about 20 pages of a formal report. And then I got a headache from staring at the computer too much.

The problem with doing writing and editing as a job is, well, it becomes a job. I spend all my time chasing down rogue commas, and, when I finally–if I finally–get time to work on my own projects, I’m already worn out from editing and writing and I’d rather do almost anything else.

Your day job may not be your passion, but here’s some things you get out of having one:

  • You can focus on something else for awhile. Your subconscious mind will work through plot issues and craft prose for you while you work, and when you get to writing, you’ll be ready to go.
  • You may not get to write as often as you like, but it’s almost always a pleasure when you do.
  • Steady income! Important for supplying yourself with chocolate and plot ninjas.
  • Your co-workers secretly think you’re cool.
  • On that note, you have co-workers (probably) and don’t have to have “water cooler” conversations with the dog.

Your brain likes to compartmentalize things. I’ve found that now, since I do all my freelance work on my desktop, it’s almost impossible to write fiction here. Believe me, your brain thanks you for letting it do other things every now and again.

Disagree, Squiders? Anyone else work in writing/editing and have any thoughts on the matter?