What do you do when your dreams of being a writer and the way people seem to think you should pursue that dream are at odds?
Writing is my dream. It has been since I was a kid. Writing full-time, however, is not.
Let me explain.
I’ve talked to writers of varying success levels who often say that writing full time is their dream and quitting the day job is top on their bucket list. They want nothing more than to be their own master, writing for a living and building that small business entirely for themselves. And in some instances, it seems like not quitting the day job, not putting that at the top of the list as a go-to goal means you must not be as serious or as focused a writer.
Sometimes it makes me wonder: am I the only one who also loves her day job?
There are others out there, right? You get just as much satisfaction from the work you do during the day as you do the writing that feeds your creative soul? You’re out there, I know you are. I mean, I can’t be that unique.
Coming to Terms with how Being a Writer Works for you
It’s taken me a lot of years to reconcile the two things I love and to realize I didn’t have to choose one or the other. I didn’t have to only want to write full time to mean I’m a “real” writer. It’s taken knowing who I am, what I need, what my family needs and being willing to not just accept that, but embrace it. It means trade-offs, but that’s part of acceptance. Knowing what you’re willing to give up and why.
When you are a full-time writer, you own your own business. You are the show. The business person, the talent, the marketer. You’re it. I’ve done that, and you know what? I wasn’t really a fan. It wasn’t for me, and I am willing and able to admit that. I love writing – it feeds a part of my soul that nothing else does. I have plenty of author goals and more books to finish, but I also love writing at my speed. And I can do that, while I have a day job that supports me. To me, it’s the best of both worlds.
I admit, it’s not always easy. I’ve made decisions along the way that weren’t right for me and had to find a way to backpedal out of them. But once I was brutally honest with myself, understood what I need from life to be happy, I was able to say, Screw what “should be” and let me just enjoy what is.
Loving the Two Worlds I Work In
In my sunshine hours, I’m a marketing professional and I love what I do. I have no desire to give it up. I work for a kickass company completely unrelated to writing fiction whatsoever — in fact, my target audience is accounting professionals.
Now, the two worlds tend to bleed. I can’t seem to help myself.
My next book coming out – the Devil and the Duchess– is about a woman in the 19th century who, if she had her druthers ( I love that word), she’d be handling the ledgers #likeaboss. But in that day and time, women didn’t do such things…especially not noble woman. My duchess doesn’t seem to care.
The book before that, A Rogue’s Deadly Redemption, had a hero who was a talented artist… but also dabbled in bank note forgeries. Somehow, that financial thread in one half of my life continues to find its way into my other.
But I also don’t think the two loves in my work life are that different. Good books and good marketing come down to the same thing: telling the story. Everything I talk about connects to that, somehow. So maybe the worlds aren’t that different after all.
What about you? I’d love to hear from other writers with jobs they love… or don’t love. Tell me your story.