If I won the lotto, I would squirrel the money away and never work a day job ever again.
I haven’t won yet, so instead I’ve been searching for a day job to compliment my writing. One that pays the bills and allows me the time and energy to use for my writing projects. It’s only over the last few days that I’ve begun to understand what this actually means to me and I thought it might help other writers.
This is what I need from a day job to keep myself going financially and creatively:
1. Something unfullfilling.
What I mean is something that I won’t get emotionally involved with or that will creep into my dreams at night.
2. Something with no take-home work or overtime.
I’m not looking to climb corporate ladders here. It’s not worth it.
3. Something different to my writing routine at home.
Ideally, I would do something that doesn’t have me sitting in front of a computer but this is rarely the case. I like to keep the day job and my personal aspirations separate.
‘Yeah, yeah’, you say. ‘But what kind of job is that?’ It’s different for everyone depending on their skills but for me, it’s short term office temping. I like the freedom of short contracts. I like that I can save for a few weeks and have a few weeks off for my writing. I can decide to go on holiday without begging my boss or co-workers and if I found myself in a really negative workplace, I’d call my agency and bow out gracefully.
No, it’s not as easy as it sounds. There’s plenty of temping agencies that hate my stubborn ideas on work/life balance and can’t understand that I don’t want to work all the time. It’s also taken time to adjust to living on a lower and (honestly) uncertain paycheck. It has been worth it though. My writing has improved so quickly and I enjoy every time I sit down to write as opposed to stressing about how little time I have.
I would really like to hear other people’s stories and opinions on this because my ‘day job’ won’t work for many writers. (To give some perspective for those glaring at this post with green eyes, I’ve got no kids or mortgage and I’m from that pesky generation that ditches a ‘career’ to go backpacking in Europe.) Has anyone else found a good day job to compliment their writing? Or if you work full time, how do you manage your writing projects?