Why You Shouldn't Quit Your Day Job

Last year, I had a ton of moments where I'd be barfing to a friend about how sick and dog gone tired I was of working this job I work when all I want is to be able to write books. To have the time to even get the chance. To not drive away and do xyz, but stay home and xyz all over my manuscripts.

It came to a head a couple months ago. I was in tears and literally melting about this very thing to one of my writing besties. It was Marco Polo so she couldn't do anything but watch me cry. I've had these moments several times since. It drives me nuts. It gets me no where. It doesn't motivate me to work faster. Working faster means turning in crap, and I'm not doing that. Sometimes though, venting was helpful in and of itself. Just to get the words out I hold in constantly. Constantly!

It's hard to see friends and acquaintances boom boom boom book after book, getting to do the very thing I just pray to. I get infuriated when I can finally sneak in some writing, because I shouldn't have to. Or at least, I don't want to. I want time in the day when I'm not exhausted from work, family, cooking, chores, exercise, etc etc etc. (And please, don't remind me to not glorify publishing. I know, and have read, about many who've had crap deals. Susan Dennard goes into this with great length. I get it. I do. But, I still want it.)

So why do I say don't quit your day job? Well, several years ago, I won an interview with Greenhouse Literary agent, Sarah Davies. Her advice was that very thing. Her reason was she wanted to see that all the eggs weren't in a basket of "publishing dream." It showed financial logic.

The week I had my first real meltdown, I was at work the next day and saw an interview by Harry Connick Jr of the Shark Tank's, Daymond John. He said the exact same thing. In fact, he was working at a fast food restuarant when he'd had the idea of FUBU. BUT, he didn't give up what allowed him to financially live. He said he did FUBU at night and fast food by day. He worked harder and harder, allowing the percentages of time spent with one to slowly become more than the other. FUBU took off, and allowed him to financially thrive. THAT was the moment he stopped working fast food.

There are moments in my life when I pray all my hard work will pay off. That I can reach my goal. That I can slowly, and assuredly, begin to also make the switch between jobs and follow my heart deeper and deeper into my writing journey. Scratch that, my writing career.

Months ago, I did a very brave thing. I entered my 1st chapter (which I knew had problems but I needed enlightment) to a podcast. I was shocked and teary when I heard the highs and lows of the chapter, which is the point of the segment. Ultimately, I rehashed my first 2 chapters with the advice given in mind and BOOM. Everything made sense once again. I'm on chapter 8 now and hoping to be done and able to query by the end of summer. The podcast set me back several months worth, but it also set me forward in my writerly knowledge. And that I'm forever grateful for.

I hope my words today have been helpful. I thank all of you for being there with me and always encouraging me in my Viking story and never sending me any shade. I hope to one day put you in my acknowledgements. And yes, I probably just jinxed myself, now! :)~

Love your guts,



Writers are my heroes. Thank you for all the blood, sweat and tears you have expended. And I wish you the success you deserve.
A very successful, now retired writer once told me to never look at the things in life that can't be avoided- the work part of life- as a hindrance to writing, but as the fodder for the stories. Stories are just life put into words.

Hang in there, chick. You have all the talent you need and you will get there!
It's tough when we have that day job, but we can find a way to balance it out and eventually devote more time to what we want.
Pat Hatt said…
Yep, have to keep the day job as living in a cardboard box wouldn't be fun.
I hope that some day all your dreams do come true.
I'm glad my dear wife allowed me the luxury of giving up the day job.
The Silver Fox said…
It's sad but true that relatively few authors will ever get to support themselves with their writing, especially nowadays when there are millions more who self-publish and have to market their books themselves, instead of having a major publishing house handling that for them!
Tammy Theriault said…
So true. Especially for what category you write in
Mark said…
Perfectly natural reaction. Balancing the day job and writing is key. All great authors did it. Joyce was a teacher, Dickens a publisher, Vonnegut a tech writer...even after they'd published their books!
Best of luck achieving your writing dreams! Agree with you about the importance of keeping a day job. I've never had one (not for lack of trying), but I do take on non-art tasks to supplement my income as a self-employed artist. Although I'd love more than anything to have that extra time for my own projects, financial stability must come first. Sorry your own responsibilities have left you so exhausted. Hope all your hard work eventually allows you to make writing a full-time career!
Samara said…
Nice post.Keep sharing. Thanks for sharing.
I have several books published but I still needed that upbeat note you ended with today. I received three rejections for a book I love that I can't find a publisher for. Keep on swimming.
Tammy Theriault said…
Crossing fingers for you!
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