I have long been an advocate for not writing full-time.
Spoiler alert: I still am.
There’s a great deal of pressure in both directions. We all get romanced by the notion of the full-time writer’s life: wake up in the morning with nothing to do but write? Sounds amazing. But, modern society working as it still does on capitalist principles, we need money coming in, which is hard to come by early on in a writer’s career.
So, quit the day job to force yourself to produce? Or keep the day job, and risk neglecting your creative self, to the point where you might stop producing altogether?
As I started by saying, I’m an advocate for the day job. A month after completing my MFA, I started working full-time as a marketing proposal writer, and I’ve been working full-time all [mumblety-mumble] years since. Would I produce more fiction if I didn’t have so many hours of my life dedicated to writing the corporate stuff? You bet. Would I also be a huge drain on our household finances, resulting in pretty lousy trade-offs not just for me, but also my husband and two kids? Yeah. That’s the thing.
So why didn’t I call this post “Don’t Quit Your Day Job?” Because you aren’t me. It makes complete sense for me to keep working full-time, since it provides financial stability for my family, my boss is understanding if I need time off for retreats or book tours, my publisher’s timeline for new books doesn’t stretch me to the breaking point, and yes, I also really enjoy the work I do.
Your situation may be completely different. But you should still look at it logically and not emotionally. It’s a business decision, after all, and not just a creative one.
If all of the conditions below are present, quitting your day job to write full-time may in fact be the right option for you. [Read more…]