Friday Fun is a group post from the writers of the NHWN blog. Each week, we’ll pose and answer a different, get-to-know-us question. We hope you’ll join in by providing your answer in the comments.
QUESTION: I’ve never heard of a writer who launched a career without first enduring years of studying the craft, collecting rejections, and working all kinds of other jobs in order to pay the bills. Some writers seek out day jobs that are writing-related such as copywriting, journalism, and so on. Other writers prefer jobs that have nothing to do with writing, opting to keep their day job and dream job as separate as possible. What’s your preference and why?
Lisa J. Jackson: I don’t know how to answer this question! In a dream world I imagined working odd jobs (bartending in particular) to pay for rent and food while working on novels. That might still transpire as I pursue my dream of living and traveling full-time in an RV.
But as it turns out, I’m a full-time business writer and any odd jobs away from it are more distracting than helpful. I guess I figured out how to answer the question! If/when I pursue a full-time fiction live, odd jobs will be welcome. Otherwise, I’ll take variety in the kind of non-fiction and business I write, but don’t want much distraction from it.
Jamie Wallace: Once upon a time I believed that an aspiring author should never engage in other types of writing for fear of contaminating her creativity or otherwise handicapping her muse. I don’t believe that any longer. When I held non-writing day jobs, I feel as though my entire frame of reference – to the world and my place in it – shifted. When my mind was occupied all day with things like inventory levels, sales budgets, project coordination, and so forth, I found it difficult to transition from that logistical and analytical way of thinking into a more fluid and creative state. My current “day job” as a self-employed marcom writer at least lets me work in my preferred territory – the land of words, ideas, and stories. I may not be writing fiction, but at least I am still working on how to craft a cohesive story, hook a reader, be clear in my writing, and so forth. Although the type of writing I do for my clients is a world away from the type of writing I do for myself, I have learned that all types of writing practice are beneficial.
Deborah Lee Luskin: I’ve taught writing since 1980, to Ivy League students, elders, inmates and kids. I’ve also managed a rural medical practice, written medical copy, features, interviews and book reviews, as well as editorial columns and radio broadcasts. I’ve taught literature-based humanities programs in libraries, hospitals and prisons, given public lectures and motivational speeches. For a while, I was a leader for Weight Watchers. But all the while, my aim was to be able to write fiction full time, which is what I do now.
Julie Hennrikus: Can anyone “just” do one thing and make a living these days? While the dream might be to write full time, I know that part of writing full time is marketing, blogging, book signings, etc. etc. I am very lucky in that I love my day jobs, and love my life just as it is, for the most part. The juggling act keeps me focused. I won’t be able to do it forever, and the retirement dream includes writing full time. Someplace warm. Where it doesn’t snow.