Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Day jobs

About a year and a half ago, I finally had a revelation about the relationship between work and writing. I was in the middle of planning a career change, scheduling classes to prepare for a teaching degree and all of the sudden, walking home from the grocery store, knowledge just slammed into my brain: If I wanted to be a writer, I needed to make peace with my day job and stop looking for fulfillment in that world. If writing was going to be my art, I needed to sacrifice something for it.

This was hard for me to accept. I think I even went into a kind of mourning. Deep down, I've always been fairly ambitious, and I've also always been pessimistic about my chances of making a well-paid living from writing. That's part of the reason I spent so much time and effort as a younger person rejecting my love of writing. So to think about sticking with my (not very well paid and highly non-glamorous) part-time day job was painful. But I am so glad I have.

Having a day job that is flexible enough to create a functional life-work-art schedule is wonderful. Having a day job that I can leave behind when I clock out is amazing. Having money to buy groceries and even having enough cash to put into books and conventions is UNBELIEVABLE. It's given me the strength and courage to focus on writing.

I dream every single day that I will someday be able to leave my job and just write. It will probably never, ever happen. And you know what? If I made a killing writing blockbuster books, I might be tempted to have a part-time job just to get out of the house.

Of course, I'd probably pick a cooler job. Wendy Wagner, Pet Detective, has a pretty awesome ring to it.

7 comments:

Headshot Heather said...

Ok, I first have to get this out of my system...I LOVE your new layout! Daisy's are my FAVORITE flower!

I'm good now...I have all the faith that you will succeed in your writing. You are extremely talented and I look forward to reading many more tales and novels by WW! Anymore out there I can read?

Wendy said...

HH: Not yet--but I will keep you posted. And I'm glad you like the new layout! Blogger templates were getting old.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

I'm coming to the realization that my sacrifice for my writing is definitely going to have to come during my personal time. Taking time out of family time isn't working. Hello, late nights! :)

Elizabeth
Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen
Mystery Writing is Murder

Kat Albrecht said...

Caught your post because of the word "pet detective " (Google alert). I am a real life pet detective and author (memoirs, dog training book). I'm currently working on a YA mystery /romance that I dream will do well. I was once told that I was "having a pipedream" if I thought I could make a living as a pet detective (www.katalbrecht.com). That was 13 years ago, and not only have I made a living at it, but I've trained many others who are now pet detectives. I just want to encourage you..BELIEVE. You clearly have a talent for the craft. Don't listen to the naysayers. Don't look at the Twilight books and feel dismayed. You have just as much of a chance to do this as anyone else!

Wendy said...

Wow! Thanks for all your kind words, Kat! And after visiting your site, I'm blown away by your story. You are truly a remarkable lady!

Stacy S. Jensen said...

I've had a "day job" not by choice for almost two years. At first I was a little annoyed, but then I embraced the idea that I could focus on writing — something I wanted to do. Now that I'm preparing for a baby, I'm grateful I don't have to struggle with the do I work or not question. The "day jobs" certainly wouldn't pay or be a good trade off for day care. Now, I'm just spending a lot of time explaining to baby Enzo in utero: "Mommy will need time to write!"

Wendy said...

I wrote my first novel while the Kiddo took naps. After she hit 3 or so and began to fight going to sleep, we made a rule that she had to lay down and listen to one disc of a book-on-CD for a rest period. It helped, and she absorbed a lot of great books!