Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Quit the day job? Me, I took it back.

Back to work. It's a short work week for me and for that, I am thankful. On the other hand, I know that there are probably not enough days in this work week to accomplish what I need to get done. And there you have it, the struggle.

I often think about normal people -- you know, those non-writer people. They go to work, then come home, and sometimes they even think about work at home or (gasp) even do work at home. And it's okay with them because it is their job, and maybe they are even passionate about their job, and they don't mind.

That's cool. I get that.

But what I don't think non-writer people get is that we writer people have two jobs. For many of us, it is the day job that pays the bills, and maybe even, if we are lucky, it's a job we love and feel passionate about. And then there is the writing.

And it's not just writing. There are websites to update, marketing plans to make, daily check-ins on social media or the writing groups, or proposals to write, deadlines to make. And more.

It's a business. It's a job. Not a chore, necessarily. (At least not most of the time) But a job all the same. Because you see? Us writer-people? We all secretly and truly want to make enough money to quit the day job -- even if we love the day job and even if we are passionate about it.

I did that. Quit the day job. Twice. I supplemented my income with some part-time consulting work. I also did cover art and ran a small publishing house. In fact, I did so much to help out with the writing income that I ended up severely cutting into the writing time. Hm. The reason I quit the day job with benefits and insurance and a retirement plan was so that I could have more time to write and make bigger money writing. What the hey?

I went back to work. Both times. I'm back at work now. (Well, not at this minute unless you are reading from 9-5.) And here are the lesson's I've learned from this experience:

1. I'm actually happy to get up every day and go to work. I see people. I talk to people. Writing and working at home all day by yourself can get lonely. I get twitchy.

2. I enjoy receiving the benefits, the insurance, the retirement plan. At my age now, I'm realizing that in the not so distant future, I'll be needing all of those things more. Writing full time can't give me that. Not yet, anyway.

3. I'm more stable financially. Bills are paid. I'm not tapping my fingers on my desk waiting for the Amazon payment to drop any longer. Book income is now extra income, and I like it that way.

4. I need the day job for me. For my mental health. To feel fulfilled at the end of the day. To work in teams and accomplish tasks. To be a leader and lend my years of wisdom, expertise, and advice to others. To give back.

5. I'm getting the joy of writing back. I'm not totally there yet. But for years I kept chasing the release. Had to get one out there every so many months. Worried about the numbers, the income, the reviews, the sales ranks....

Okay, I'm done with all of that on number 5 right now--except the joy part. There could come a time when I worry about all of those things again but right now, I can't. I just want to write my stories. I want to paint pretty pictures with words.

I am enjoying watching and feeling stories unfold. And, I'm doing it with a day job. I've finally left that struggle behind. You know the one? The balance between the day job and writing. The constant of wanting to quit in order to write. We've all been there.

I've buried that. Now, I'm thankful for the work that I do, the job that I have. I'm keeping the day job. And I'll still write. Maybe not as much, but I write.

Write more. Write often. Write now.  (I think I'm beginning to see a theme here....)

Until the next time,
Maddie
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