Last year, I confided in a former colleague that I was thinking of getting a regular job instead of writing full-time. See, I’d taught creative writing part-time at a middle school, and I liked many aspects of having a job outside the house.
They expressed that I’d burst their bubble about the writing life. Wouldn’t that be giving up? At this, I felt slightly ashamed, as if going back to work would indeed equal throwing up the white flag. Indeed, at other times, people have asked if writing’s the “only thing I do.” When I reply yes, they give an approving cluck and say something like, “Good for you.” But the truth is, I’ve only really been able to write because my husband works and is willing to support us—every writing check I’ve earned has gone to some put-off familial necessity.
This notion of writing full-time is usually seen as the Holy Grail for those fantasizing about publishing. If you give up your day job, the myth goes, you have it made. Yet I find myself having a lot of hours to fill once I’m done with my work. And giving an anxiety-prone writer too much free time can be bad. Some people, like Border Collies, need to keep their hours filled. If you leave a Border Collie home alone with nothing to do, expect a (proverbial) couch to get shredded.