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Thread: Writing full-time. Do I need to be talked down off this ledge?

  1. #1
    Misbehaving and stuff Beachgirl's Avatar
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    Writing full-time. Do I need to be talked down off this ledge?

    I found out I will be joining the ranks of the unemployed at the end of next month and I'm seriously thinking about writing full-time. Jobs in my field are few and far between right now, so prospects of finding something are slim. My current job has also been so stressful over the last year that my husband has been seriously worried about my health - not to mention my sanity.

    I've written four books in the last six months and I'm thinking if I were to write full-time I could increase my output significantly. It won't replace my current income anytime in the near future and things will be "beans and weenies" tight, but I'm seriously thinking about giving it a go. It's just really scary to take that leap and commit. I'm having a hard time believing I'm even considering it, but as long as hubby's supporting, should I just go ahead and take the plunge?



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  2. #2
    Tell it like it Is Susan Littlefield's Avatar
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    Beachgirl,

    This is a decision only you can make. I wish you the best in whatever you decide to do.
    Susan

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  3. #3
    Misbehaving and stuff Beachgirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Susan Littlefield View Post
    This is a decision only you can make.
    Yeah, I know. I'm just so emotionally wrapped up in the whole job-loss thing that I'm not thinking very clearly right now. I'm trying to go through the pros and cons, but I just end up having a panic attack.



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    The Crazy Man in the Sun. Feel me. WillSauger's Avatar
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    Beachgirl, like Susan said, this is all your decision.

    I, for one, don't like to kill dreams. But I need to say, if your writing hasn't taken off already, it might not be worth gamble. Ya get me?

    I think it's smart searching for a job, while writing. Even after you get the job, keep writing. Or, if your writing makes enough to live on, keep looking for a job (until you're certain the prospect looks good). Whatever takes off, takes off.

    ETA: I'm a very cautious person. I'll take one step forward, ready to retreat at a drop of a hat.
    Don't Fear Failure.

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  5. #5
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beachgirl View Post
    I found out I will be joining the ranks of the unemployed at the end of next month and I'm seriously thinking about writing full-time. Jobs in my field are few and far between right now, so prospects of finding something are slim. My current job has also been so stressful over the last year that my husband has been seriously worried about my health - not to mention my sanity.

    I've written four books in the last six months and I'm thinking if I were to write full-time I could increase my output significantly. It won't replace my current income anytime in the near future and things will be "beans and weenies" tight, but I'm seriously thinking about giving it a go. It's just really scary to take that leap and commit. I'm having a hard time believing I'm even considering it, but as long as hubby's supporting, should I just go ahead and take the plunge?
    Maybe compromise, and look for part time work? That would give you more writing time but not totally cut out the $. It'd let you know if more writing time equates to more/better books or not. For some people, writing full time is the way to go; for others, it's ruinous and they lose the ability to write altogether. You probably won't know till you give it a try.

  6. #6
    Tell it like it Is Susan Littlefield's Avatar
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    Some good suggestions. When I worked part time (20-30 hours a week), I had lots of time to write. Loved it!
    Susan

    Please visit my website: http://www.susanlittlefield.blogspot.com/


  7. #7
    That hairy-handed gent
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    No. What you need is money.

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  8. #8
    Runs With Scissors RedWombat's Avatar
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    I personally didn't strike out on art until I was downsized. I limped from freelance to freelance and...it worked.

    But getting a part-time job was still a good idea, so that I KNEW I had money coming in, even if it was only grocery money. And a resume without gaps is helpful.

    And being around other humans two or three times a week, even in retail, kept me from getting all weird and hermit-like, which may not be a problem for you, but sure was to me.

    It can be helpful to ease into the lifestyle.

  9. #9
    Misbehaving and stuff Beachgirl's Avatar
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    Part-time might actually be a good idea. Ive been so career-oriented for so many years that this whole idea is ground-shaking for me. I cant imagine just sitting at home, so if I could find something interesting to do part time it might actually work.

    This is what I love about this fourm. Thanks for the ideas and the encouragement!



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  10. #10
    Aye, ye scurvy dog! Sydneyd's Avatar
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    Yes! Do it! If you can afford it.

  11. #11
    coffee and pistols at dawn KateJJ's Avatar
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    I work 30 hours a week from home which is really awesome; I get two hours a day while the toddler naps and before my husband gets home to write. And since I can't just write all day long, I'm forced to set goals and keep a schedule. It's really ideal for me. I'd love to someday have my day job be writing fiction but until then I'll try hard to keep everything in balance.
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    Cadence of Her Last Breath Ms_Sassypants's Avatar
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    I'm in the same dilemma, well almost. Only thing is, I don't have any husband to support me or fall back on

    I find that working full-time is too stressful for me to carry on writing. I did quit a job to focus on writing, then got an irresistable offer to work for the govt, took that job, then lost all ability or time to write! So much so that my book took almost 4 years to finish.

    Eventually, I quit that govt job and took another. With some breathing space, I continued writing again.. but honestly, I find it a challenge to juggle a full-time job and writing.

    The thing is... working full-time comes with a crapload of stress (office politics, relationships with colleagues, tempers, anxiety, fatigue from overwork, health deprivation, etc) - these takes away the calmness and serenity that are needed to write. At least in my case. If I'm worrying about something, I can't think properly, much less form coherent sentences in my writing.

    Therefore, I agree with you that being unemployed would increase the chances of a better writing product - you can focus on writing and not be swayed by your boss' criticisms for the day (for example).

    However, I do think that too much time on our hands makes us lazy and undisciplined. I agree with Susan and uhm, Unimportant, that working part time will help. Lots of time, less stress, still brings in the dough, and keeps a grip on the real world.

    Good luck for your choice! I wish I didn't need to work too.

  13. #13
    Playing the waiting game MsLaylaCakes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ms_Sassypants View Post
    The thing is... working full-time comes with a crapload of stress (office politics, relationships with colleagues, tempers, anxiety, fatigue from overwork, health deprivation, etc) - these takes away the calmness and serenity that are needed to write.
    For what it's worth - I totally agree with the above. I work full-time, and for the past week my creativity is crimped due to the baggage that comes with work, and I'm so tired at the end of each day that forcing myself to write becomes a chore (given, I'm regularly scheduled for 45 hours and average around 50 per week). I wish everyday that quitting was in the cards, but its not (at least not for another 8.5 months ... but who's counting?)

    That said, do I plan on leaving the workforce as soon as my contract is up? Yes, absolutely. Will it make sense financially? Not in a million years. Will I most likely end up looking for another job after this when logic and responsibility hits me over the head? Probably. Until then, I can dream
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  14. #14
    practical experience, FTW
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    I love having a part-time job. Plenty of time to write and the job gets me out of the house a bit.

  15. #15
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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    I reckon it really depends on the job (and coworkers). Some leave you drained, while others spark your creativity. And everyone's financial needs and situations are different. You have to do what works for you, and that may not be what works for anyone else.

  16. #16
    Roofied by Rylan Bloo's Avatar
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    I was talking the other day to my best friend, my Ideal Reader, and once in awhile writing partner. He was a small town principal the switched back to teaching English. He said his creative juices are much higher since he doesn't have the stress of everything that goes with being a principal.

    work part-time is good advice
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    The cake is a lie. But still cake. shaldna's Avatar
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    Honestly, I would advise against writing full time unless you have enough savings to carry you through the next two years, or are at the point where your writing income has been equal to your day job for at least a couple of years.

    Writing is a slow paying gig - no matter how fast you write your book, it can take years before you see a penny earned from it.
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  18. #18
    empty-nester! shadowwalker's Avatar
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    Just from a practical point of view, unless you can afford to be a one-income family (and don't have to worry about meeting unemployment benefit requirements), getting a new job should be the priority. Most writers, even the published ones, still keep their day job. As a couple others mentioned, writing itself does not equal income - and definitely not immediate income.
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  19. #19
    Toughen up. gothicangel's Avatar
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    Okay, you've written four books in six months, BUT can you sell them? And even if you do - and quickly - can you last 18 months without a pay check.

    Don't beat yourself up over unemployment, the recession is hitting everyone hard. I'm treating this an opportunity, I work part time as a chef manager while I study for a new degree.
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  20. #20
    I fight like a dairy farmer Corussa's Avatar
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    Another thing to perhaps consider is that if you didn't seek a new job, and then your husband was also unlucky and lost his job, there would be no safety net that having two incomes creates.

    I think that, as others have suggested, trying to find part-time work would be a great solution.

    And congrats on writing four books in six months - I think that's amazing!
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  21. #21
    Ustom Ser Itle Dgullen's Avatar
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    Beachgirl, whatever you do, you -must- be realistic about what you're doing. In particular, your current income, and your writing prospects. If nothing changes, where will you be a year from now?

    My lovely partner has, this month, quit the day job, and gone full time. She's got a small income from a flat she rents, and some savings. She's taking a chance.
    She also has her second book out from Solaris next Feb, with a third on the way, and other things going on. It's a considered chance, writing is still not a living, but it might be. So it was either do this now, or maybe look back over the rest of her life and think, 'I wish I'd done that...'

    Me - I work three days and write the rest - I still need that income, it's an absolute.

    If planning for the future gives you panic attacks, now is not the time to plan. I'm all for taking chances - if it's right, go for it! Think things through calmly and carefully, and know what you're doing. If you're taking a chance, know what sort of chance you're taking.

    Good luck, whatever you decide.

  22. #22
    Fix it in the Rewrite Shara's Avatar
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    I am married to an accountant, and my ever-practical view has been influenced by this for quite a long time.

    For most people, income from writing is pretty much non-existence. A few people get lucky and manage to earn a decent living from writing, but the vast majority don't.

    It's great that your husband is supportive of this, but the real question is, can you afford to live on one salary - his - for a while? If so, then by all means, go for it.

    If not, or you're thinking that having more time to dedicate to writing will mean seeing more cash rolling in from it, then it's probably not the right way to go.

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  23. #23
    Toughen up. gothicangel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beachgirl View Post
    Yeah, I know. I'm just so emotionally wrapped up in the whole job-loss thing that I'm not thinking very clearly right now. I'm trying to go through the pros and cons, but I just end up having a panic attack.
    If you a suffering from panic attacks, you need to speak to a doctor. I suffer from an anxiety disorder, and when I suffer from panic attacks I need medication.
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  24. #24
    Misbehaving and stuff Beachgirl's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the great advice everyone! My job has been sucking the life out of me for awhile - working as much as 7 days and 80 hours a week - so this might be a blessing in disguise. I'm getting some decent royalties from my already-published books, so that helps. Unemployment benefits will also help for awhile. To play it safe, I'm thinking I'll apply for interesting part-time work and any full-time jobs in my field that might come along, but that won't be as stressful as the one I've had.

    I guess any major life change is scary, and this one took me by complete surprise. Being Thanksgiving Day, I'm making a point to think about all the things I have to be thankful for - a supportive family, the talent to do something I love, and great folks here at AW to help me keep things in perspective!



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  25. #25
    empty-nester! shadowwalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beachgirl View Post
    Unemployment benefits will also help for awhile.
    Just be aware that in Florida (I'm assuming that's where you live), you actually have to show where you've applied for work each week. If they're like Minnesota, they're very picky about it being 'suitable' employment (which may mean looking for part-time work could affect the amount of benefits, or disqualify you entirely). Just something to look at.
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