Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Why I Didn't Give Up my Day Job to be a Writer


Some writers desire staying at home and just writing. I never did. I kept my "day job" for several reasons even though I was writing for cold, hard cash....

1) Even though my writing paid me well-getting royalty checks after the advance earned out was fluctuating. Even when you added in the money I made doing free-lance work. I had a marriage, bills and four children. There is nothing like financial security.

2) While I've lived in large cities to small towns, competition is steep. Small towns can't afford you and in cities writers are a dime a dozen. Unless you've made a name for yourself somewhere else. Who really has that as a writer just starting out? Now keep in mind I've been writing for over 30 years under a number of different pen names or no mention of my name at all because I ghosted.

3) Deadlines. While I have no real issues with deadlines, they can be a challenge on a weekly or daily basis. I did not need it with everything else I was juggling. Between a full time job, a part-time job, college and home life, even I have my limits on how much I can juggle. That included with my writing time. I just don't or didn't need another timeline in my head.

Once my husband became ill, plus the added care of elderly in laws it was a master juggling feat at best with my teaching position, ministry work, and writing. Even traditional publishing was a closed door with the hospitalizations, day-to-day care, and deaths.

4) Bias. I have my own thoughts on what I should write and when. I think I've mentioned  few times on this blog that I'm a Taurus and bull headed, or maybe I used the words stubborn and hard headed. While this works in some careers, it doesn't always translate well with publishers, editors, line editors, copy editors, etc. They want what they  want, and that's it. It also brought in more deadlines.

5) The outside world is more enjoyable than writing strictly from one's head. I enjoy sitting in waiting rooms or parks. I'm a people watcher and a people person. Sitting in your of office all day long writing, you become detached from life. I'd jot down mannerisms, accents, reactions of those around me so every character has their own ticks.

6) I sat on the fence and watched and studied the indie movement in fiction before I jumped on the band wagon in fiction and some nonfiction. I decided I wanted to try POD (print on demand) and the e-marketplace rather than a vanity press. It has been a year and a half, and I make enough to provide some comfort, but not a  stable dependable income like some other authors. Especially with me not doing my clergy work for almost five months because of my stroke...but still the money trickles in because I haven't been active no the social media front. BUT honestly what other full time or even part time job would allow me that much time off and still pay me?

7) In the different phases in my life, writing has been something I enjoyed. My youngest used to bring friends home from school and I'd be writing on a day off. "Don't mind her she's lost in (Russia, Ceylon, Belize, Germany...)," she'd explain and then they'd be off talking about some boy or homework. Even now, with the struggles I go through doing it, I still enjoy it. It's my escape. It's a vacation away from my real life. Of course that's not exactly true with my new book, because it's about my life.

That's my two cents and with inflation a quarter.

Keep writing and loving the Lord.

3 comments:

S.P. Bowers said...

That's one of the nicest things about writing. It's flexible. There are enough options now that, as long as we keep writing, we can make it work the way we want.

Hope you're doing well!

Zan Marie said...

I'm all for the flexibility, too. Caring for parents and in-laws, juggling house renovations, and caring for the feeding and needs of a husband all have a time and a place that the writing can fit in among and around.

J.L. Murphey said...

Sara and Zan Marie, writing is only flexible if you are not looking at writing as your day job. Also when you under contract for multiple books then it also becomes less flexible because there is a deadline.

I'm in limbo between pain and exhaustion because of the high doses of muscle relaxers. Otherwise I'm fine.