PDA

View Full Version : What do you do to support your writing?



Oldborne
05-05-2015, 03:10 PM
Sorry if a question like this has been posted, and if someone can point me in the direction of an existing thread that'd be swell.

Anyway: jobs!

I hate mine. It leaves me physically, mentally and emotionally drained. I get paid less than London living wage which I'm pretty sure isn't even legal. I work night shifts, late shifts, early shifts and even shittier shifts. But it's considered a 'desirable job', so they can get away with treating you like crap.

Anyway this job doesn't particularly nurture one's creative side. Nor does it leave much time/ energy for actual writing. And, really, writing is literally all I want to do. I just want to write novels.

So, what do all of you do to fund your writing? What's your day job? What sort of a job will compliment writing? I'd like to see how other people manage it.

meowzbark
05-05-2015, 04:25 PM
I'm in an entry level position at the post office, which will eventually lead me into a career that has decent wages and fairly decent job security. At the entry level position, it sucks. 9-10 hour days working 6-7 days a week doing monotonous, meticulous work in crappy weather. It's barely May and we're dealing with 99 degree weather and no air conditioning, gah!

I brainstorm my writing during my lunch (which I insist on taking unlike many of my coworkers) and then write once my kid is asleep. I get about 5 hours of sleep a night and about 3 hours of writing. I'm tired (coma tired), but I'm miserable if I don't find some time to write. BTW, I tried waking up early this morning because I was too tired last night to write. God fucked me over and woke my kid up too. Damn.

If you want to write, you just have to find time to write. My husband hates how much time I spend writing, but I'm not going to stop because he wants me to watch a TV show with him or clean the house because he's too tired to do it (and I used to do it when I wasn't working).

Oldborne
05-05-2015, 05:01 PM
If you want to write, you just have to find time to write.

That's very true, and I certainly do find the time - I just want more of it. The job I'm in (edit assistant in TV post-production) is much the same as yours; a single step up from the entry role for people utterly devoted to my industry. Which I was, until I realised I'm actually not. And I'm much more devoted to writing than anything else.

I suppose then I wonder what people do as their day jobs, to fund a career in writing. As opposed to having a career as well as writing.

Melanii
05-05-2015, 06:45 PM
Nothing.

I did once want a "career" while writing on the side, but I never figured out what appealed to me.

Myrealana
05-05-2015, 06:55 PM
I happen to have a day job that challenges me and for many years, I have found it interesting, and yes, even fun at times.

In the last few years, though, I've been gradually coming to the realization that, not only do I produce nothing of value, my company produces nothing of real value.

I'm a financial analyst for the international credit processing branch of a large bank. We are the type of people who will be the first against the wall when the revolution comes, as Douglas Adams would say.

I want my work to mean more. I don't mean I'm going to run away to Africa and start a hospital or something. I've got no useful skills for that kind of thing, and I'm way too attached to my lattes, Netflix and central A/C. Not to be too morbid, but when I die, I want to leave something more behind than spreadsheets and SQL queries.

So, I'm looking to writing as my next career. I write every day now, and I'm working on my ideas and technique, but I don't expect to make any real money with it at this time. When my kids leave home, and my debts are paid off, my husband and I should be able to live a decent, but frugal lifestyle off of our savings, and writing will be my full time job.

nighttimer
05-05-2015, 07:00 PM
I brainstorm my writing during my lunch (which I insist on taking unlike many of my coworkers) and then write once my kid is asleep. I get about 5 hours of sleep a night and about 3 hours of writing. I'm tired (coma tired), but I'm miserable if I don't find some time to write. BTW, I tried waking up early this morning because I was too tired last night to write. God fucked me over and woke my kid up too. Damn.

If you want to write, you just have to find time to write. My husband hates how much time I spend writing, but I'm not going to stop because he wants me to watch a TV show with him or clean the house because he's too tired to do it (and I used to do it when I wasn't working).

The thing about just having to find time to write is that's not quite accurate. You don't find time or lose time; you make time. Though it may seem there's never enough time, it's really a matter of scheduling time to write.

It's not always easy and particularly so when Mom has a child to care for (and a hubby too who wants you to watch Survivor with him or vacuum the carpet), but you have to strike that balance between following your muse and the rest of your life. You may not always be able to allocate your time equally between both, but you should certainly try to.


That's very true, and I certainly do find the time - I just want more of it. The job I'm in (edit assistant in TV post-production) is much the same as yours; a single step up from the entry role for people utterly devoted to my industry. Which I was, until I realised I'm actually not. And I'm much more devoted to writing than anything else.

I suppose then I wonder what people do as their day jobs, to fund a career in writing. As opposed to having a career as well as writing.

When I worked nights for seven years, I slept in the morning and wrote in the afternoon and evening until it was time to go back to work (and if it was a slow night I'd write there too).

However, weariness of working "the vampire hours" as I called them and other issues prompted me to make a job change to normal 8-to-5 hours, so now I rise at a time where I would be coming home to sleep. Much better for my health and being able to remember what day it is. I've worked in I.T. for a long time because I realized quickly neither full-time journalism nor part-time freelancing was going to pay the bills.

I.T. fills my wallet. Writing feeds my soul. What I do is not who I am. What I write is who I am. That's how I make it work for me.

ishtar'sgate
05-05-2015, 07:49 PM
For much of my writing life I was a conveyancing paralegal. It's mentally and physically taxing with long hours. I found I was wiped out when I got home so I did what worked for me - I got up at 4:30am and wrote until I had to get ready for work, feed the family etc. But I'm a morning person, so, hey, I could do it.

WriterBN
05-05-2015, 07:53 PM
To support my writing (and my family), I...write. Actually, it's a mix of editing and writing with a bit of graphic design thrown in to feed the other half of my brain. It's very different from writing fiction, though.

I worked in several corporate jobs and liked some aspects of them, but ultimately I'm much happier working for myself. The pay isn't nearly as good, benefits are nonexistent, and I never know what the finances are going to be month to month. On the plus side, i can take a weekend in the middle of the week if I need to.

BenPanced
05-05-2015, 09:52 PM
Operations support at a bank.

Woo.

Jamesaritchie
05-05-2015, 11:37 PM
I sometimes work as a slush editor, but this really isn't to support my writing, it's to stay in touch with the other side of the desk. I also make some money from finding and selling first editions, and, at times, other specific collectibles, but this isn't to support my writing, either, it's for pure fun. I don't usually earn enough from any of these things to make minimum wage.

I love doing many things besides writing, and if I'm going to do them, I may as well be paid for it.

On the other hand, I do have a writer friend who supports his writing fully this way, so it can be done, if you have the knowledge.

gettingby
05-06-2015, 07:26 AM
Sorry if a question like this has been posted, and if someone can point me in the direction of an existing thread that'd be swell.

Anyway: jobs!

I hate mine. It leaves me physically, mentally and emotionally drained. I get paid less than London living wage which I'm pretty sure isn't even legal. I work night shifts, late shifts, early shifts and even shittier shifts. But it's considered a 'desirable job', so they can get away with treating you like crap.

Anyway this job doesn't particularly nurture one's creative side. Nor does it leave much time/ energy for actual writing. And, really, writing is literally all I want to do. I just want to write novels.

So, what do all of you do to fund your writing? What's your day job? What sort of a job will compliment writing? I'd like to see how other people manage it.

People need to do what they need to do to get by. I get that, but I've always tried to have jobs that will better me as a person and a writer. You can do that. I've worked as a journalist and for a book publisher, but I've also tended bar and made beds in a hotel. My writing is a lot richer from it all. If what you really want to do is write novels, I hope that is what you are doing regardless of the other things you are doing.

meowzbark
05-06-2015, 10:48 AM
The thing about just having to find time to write is that's not quite accurate. You don't find time or lose time; you make time. Though it may seem there's never enough time, it's really a matter of scheduling time to write.

It's not always easy and particularly so when Mom has a child to care for (and a hubby too who wants you to watch Survivor with him or vacuum the carpet), but you have to strike that balance between following your muse and the rest of your life. You may not always be able to allocate your time equally between both, but you should certainly try to.


I also found that I'm much more motivated to write when I don't have the time to write. When I was unemployed, I wasted a lot of free time. /sigh

Usher
05-06-2015, 10:57 AM
I home educate three children. It does allow me to pick my hours most of the time but it is also full on. My writing is an escape from the real world so I couldn't imagine any job would impact on that -- I have to write or I won't sleep.

But I've had some crappy jobs (barmaid, factory work, carer for the elderly (it was the care home not the elderly that was crap), designer clothes shop, waitress) and the only job I really hated was cold calling double glazing sales. All of it has fed into my writing. I've nearly always enjoyed the job enough to do extra -- I got the sack from the care home for spending too much time (on my days off) with the older people, doing things like cleaning their rooms properly etc

Pony.
05-06-2015, 11:46 AM
Im just getting into the writing thing on a serious level so its not been a problem,as of yet,for me. I use to work as a trim carpenter until my MS forced me out of the trade. Things were getting rough for me, i began having more and more frequent 'episodes' that were lasting longer than what had been the norm(normal for me,anyway).
Now i work in a vape store, Im a build pro. Its less money but i have a good time most days. I get new people set up with equipment that will suit their needs not just for now but for a while without gouging them and breaking the bank.
Our philosophy is our job isnt to sell you the most expensive stuff in the store but to find you the set up that best suits your needs. Usually i can get someone up and running,with a respectable starting rig for right around the cost of a carton of cigarettes. (Give or take)
I correct misinformation, i straighten out equipment bought at other stores, i teach people how to use equipment safely and i help folks get away from conventional tobacco. and i seem to do it fairly well. I actually get about 60-70$/week in tips. What retail, non service position gets tips?

In my job i have to keep up on the market and new product information. I think that might help me with researching for writing. And we do sometimes have slow periods in the day that has been giving me opportunity to make notes and start preparing and outline.

Usher
05-06-2015, 12:15 PM
Im just getting into the writing thing on a serious level so its not been a problem,as of yet,for me. I use to work as a trim carpenter until my MS forced me out of the trade..

I'm sorry to hear that. I have ME (not the same but with huge similarities) - it's why I never made it as an archaeologist/forensic anthropologist like I wanted to.

Strangely, I wouldn't be a writer without my ME. It stopped me being able to read for a time and I think all the stories I put in my head needed a way to be processed and I started writing.

Pony.
05-06-2015, 12:35 PM
I'm sorry to hear that. I have ME (not the same but with huge similarities) - it's why I never made it as an archaeologist/forensic anthropologist like I wanted to.

Strangely, I wouldn't be a writer without my ME. It stopped me being able to read for a time and I think all the stories I put in my head needed a way to be processed and I started writing.

Granted id rather be working in the building trades but i since i left that job i haven't had an episode in over a year where i had three that last winter i was on the job sites.so its not all bad and things seem to be under control for the time being.

oceansoul
05-06-2015, 12:36 PM
I seem to be in the happy minority here. I actually love my day job. I sell and market books to trade customers for wholesaler. I mostly focus on Children's books and gift titles, so I spend a good portion of my day flipping through picture books.

Life could be worse.

scifi_boy2002
05-06-2015, 05:13 PM
I'm an evil government worker. I work for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet--the Department of Highways specifically. I oversee permits for billboards, junkyards, coal haul roads and send out legal notices for various right-of-way issues. So if you live in Kentucky and see me coming, watch out!

Oldborne
05-06-2015, 05:58 PM
Thanks everyone for your replies, lots to think about here.

Following a particularly shitty night-shift last night, I'm very much looking to pursue a different job. Gettingby makes a good point about finding jobs to build your character. I think I'll probably look for something like that.

Jamesaritchie
05-06-2015, 06:44 PM
Thanks everyone for your replies, lots to think about here.

Following a particularly shitty night-shift last night, I'm very much looking to pursue a different job. Gettingby makes a good point about finding jobs to build your character. I think I'll probably look for something like that.

It sounds like you already have the perfect job for building character. Character is not built by doing things you enjoy, it's built by how you handle thing you hate, and don't want to do. Have you read about Stephen King's job experience? Particularly his work in a laundry?

This work led directly to his first short story sales.

Anyone can do a job they enjoy, but doing so does not build character. You build character by handling the hard times life throws at you without complaint.

Pony.
05-06-2015, 10:37 PM
heres one reason i enjoy my job:
a regular ouf ours came in on the verge of tears. all her batteries were dead,her chargers werent working and she was frazzled.
first we calmed her down, took a few minutes to figure out what was wrong and a few more to show her. we had her bark up an running in about 15 minutes and feeling much better and turned her whole day around.

Lissibith
05-07-2015, 01:46 AM
I'm an editor. Editor and coder and such, working for a set of newspapers and the associated websites. And most of the time, I actually like it. Only drawback is my fiction now sounds like news articles.

asroc
05-07-2015, 02:01 AM
I'm a paramedic. I love my job, but it's demanding and the schedule isn't conducive to writing. I'm gonna be moving on to something else soon, which will leave even less time for writing or having a life.


It sounds like you already have the perfect job for building character. Character is not built by doing things you enjoy, it's built by how you handle thing you hate, and don't want to do. Have you read about Stephen King's job experience? Particularly his work in a laundry?

This work led directly to his first short story sales.

Anyone can do a job they enjoy, but doing so does not build character. You build character by handling the hard times life throws at you without complaint.

http://i.imgur.com/VnZZXpi.jpg

InspectorFarquar
05-07-2015, 02:10 AM
... Have you read about Stephen King's job experience? Particularly his work in a laundry?

Really? We're counting jobs while attending the University? Doesn't everybody hate those?

Poor fellow. Didn't sell Carrie until age 26. All those years of suffering. But good to hear he handled it well.

buz
05-07-2015, 02:28 AM
How many years of having a job you hate equal story-sale success? I'm wondering if I caved too early for the sake of my stupid sanity and financial stability or whatever bullshit and totally doomed myself...?

meowzbark
05-07-2015, 03:05 AM
Thanks everyone for your replies, lots to think about here.

Following a particularly shitty night-shift last night, I'm very much looking to pursue a different job. Gettingby makes a good point about finding jobs to build your character. I think I'll probably look for something like that.


It sounds like you already have the perfect job for building character. Character is not built by doing things you enjoy, it's built by how you handle thing you hate, and don't want to do. Have you read about Stephen King's job experience? Particularly his work in a laundry?

This work led directly to his first short story sales.

Anyone can do a job they enjoy, but doing so does not build character. You build character by handling the hard times life throws at you without complaint.

I second this.

And though my work is hard and long, it's rewarding and I do enjoy most of it. Plus, you should hear the type of crazy conversations I overhear (material for my writing). And the stories my coworkers tell me...too strange for fiction.

andiwrite
05-07-2015, 03:12 AM
Now i work in a vape store, Im a build pro. Its less money but i have a good time most days. I get new people set up with equipment that will suit their needs not just for now but for a while without gouging them and breaking the bank.

Awesome! :) I vape! My boyfriend quit a pack-a-day smoking habit thanks to vaping. You're doing good work.


Poor fellow. Didn't sell Carrie until age 26. All those years of suffering. But good to hear he handled it well.

LOL! :D

I freelance write articles, blogs, and ad copy to pay the bills. I hope to quit and make all of my money writing fiction eventually. But for now, I'm grateful to be self-employed. I've had many shitty jobs (cleaning houses, waitressing, etc) in the past and I always end up quitting because I can't deal with them. I can't stand living my by someone else's rules or schedule. I want to sleep til noon if I want to. I want to take a sick day without worrying about it ruining a managers day. I want to be able to make money in bed, in my underwear, with the television on if I want. Now I can do all those things, so I'm happy. :)

GingerGunlock
05-07-2015, 03:55 AM
I work at my local library. I'm on the front desk, and the person who processes Interlibrary Loans and places most of those request. I also spearheaded our graphic novel collection, and run a writing workshop on Saturday afternoons.

Tally
05-07-2015, 04:06 AM
I barista!

Fortunately, because I'm also an illustrator and work on commission, and because I recently started to do book covers, I was able to cut down to working only four days a week. Man, that extra day off to write has done wonders!

jaksen
05-07-2015, 05:23 AM
I've written this on other, similar threads, but I don't mind writing it again.

First off, I'm retired from what was my 'main job,' which was a teacher. Science teacher to middle-schoolers, mainly, for 35 years. I didn't get paid for my writing until I was 39, but I always wrote. Right now I don't make a ton of money, but I make enough to maintain and keep a second home on Cape Cod. Would I like to make more, yes, of course!

During all the years I taught, though, I always wrote. Short stories, long stories, novels, etc. I wrote in the early mornings before my husband, and eventually three children got up. Now one might think being a teacher would give me plenty of 'free time,' but my husband didn't get home until 9:00 PM most nights. (Long commute.) And my third child is physically and mentally disabled. (He is both mentally challenged and autistic. He will never be able to live in a 'sheltered workshop' or similar. He can't talk, use a bathroom, etc., etc.)

So my 'free time' was pretty thin. But teaching did give me a decent salary, (I live in MA, USA.), and every spare moment I could, I was writing. I dragged typewriters around wherever I went. (Seriously, they came in small sizes.) I wrote longhand. I wrote on a word processor and now, of course, I use a PC. I think all that writing was the long practice for eventually selling enough short stories - at very good pro rates - to afford that little extra, a second home.

So that's what I did.

Fruitbat
05-07-2015, 09:36 AM
These days, I mostly just hang out with my husband and write about half-time. It's luscious, but lately I think I've gotten too cut off from the rest of the world and it shows in my fiction. For two years I wrote and submitted about two flash stories a week but now much less and they usually go into a folder to re-work later. They're just not hitting it somehow. I write more nonfiction instead. It seems to use a different part of the brain that I can do right now, or something. I dunno...

ZachJPayne
05-07-2015, 10:07 AM
I'm a direct support staffer, working in a residential home with kids (well, 18-21, so young adults technically) with developmental disabilities.

It is, without a doubt, the most exhausting thing in the world. Right now, I'm on a weird schedule, where I work the graveyard shift two days a week, and I work during the day two days a week, all beautifully set up so I don't get a moment of overtime for any of it. The only way that I'm able to reconcile the different schedules is to sleep. A lot. 9 hour nights/days aren't uncommon.

But I'm writing. Only if it's a little bit every day. And that's what matters.

Terraaus
05-07-2015, 05:31 PM
Social Security and spouse.

Jamesaritchie
05-07-2015, 06:00 PM
These days, I mostly just hang out with my husband and write about half-time. It's luscious, but lately I think I've gotten too cut off from the rest of the world and it shows in my fiction. .

I've found this to be extremely common with fiction writers. Too much isolation does show in the fiction. I get out in the world and spend far more time outside the house doing new things, and going to new places, than any of my nine to five friends. I think doing so is important.

Hugh
05-07-2015, 10:23 PM
Order picker and truck loader. If a twisted spine and aching knees are character building - you can keep character building. A lifetime of manual labor has not given me a lot of writing ideas. I'm definitely not a card-carrying proletariat with working-man pride so I won't be writing any Jack Londonesque stories about the honor of hard work and poverty. Remember when Martin Eden took a job at a hotel laundry and became too exhausted to write and started drinking at the bar all the time? That's me for over a decade now. I turn 50 in a couple of months, only the chiropractor visits keep me going.

Fruitbat
05-08-2015, 12:05 AM
I've found this to be extremely common with fiction writers. Too much isolation does show in the fiction. I get out in the world and spend far more time outside the house doing new things, and going to new places, than any of my nine to five friends. I think doing so is important.

Thank you. I wasn't sure on that but now I'll be sure to get out more. Hopefully, it will make a difference.

greendragon
05-08-2015, 12:17 AM
Oddly enough, my career as an accountant (CPA) has led me to sort of writing for a living.

After 25 years of working in CPA firms preparing taxes, I branched out to SEC reporting. 12 years later, I am working as a Director of Financial Reporting (Oooh, fancy title!) for a billion dollar company.

I basically write reports each quarter on the company's operations and financial results, to submit to the SEC, and publish online. It's about a 50 page report each quarter and a 150 page report at year end. Much of it is repeated, and I do all the spreadsheets and research to plug the numbers in, and write up the analysis. It's very dry (you can see last year's report here) and a great remedy for insomnia: http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1527032/000152703214000026/nesl-20140228x10xk.htm

As a result, I ache for something more interesting. I write during my lunch hour, and love it.

I do work long hours (often 12 hours a day), but I have a wonderful house husband who cooks and cleans and supports me in all things. He's got fibro-myalgia, so can't be in the workforce any longer (he was a chef). Luckily, my boss and team are great.

On the side, I also sell photos and beaded jewelry at art shows. This does show a profit, but most of the profit goes to funding my next vacation, which also helps to inspire my writing. I'm off to Iceland this summer! Look for historical fantasy based in Iceland in the next couple of years :)

_Sian_
05-08-2015, 03:09 AM
Sorry if a question like this has been posted, and if someone can point me in the direction of an existing thread that'd be swell.

Anyway: jobs!

I hate mine. It leaves me physically, mentally and emotionally drained. I get paid less than London living wage which I'm pretty sure isn't even legal. I work night shifts, late shifts, early shifts and even shittier shifts. But it's considered a 'desirable job', so they can get away with treating you like crap.

Anyway this job doesn't particularly nurture one's creative side. Nor does it leave much time/ energy for actual writing. And, really, writing is literally all I want to do. I just want to write novels.

So, what do all of you do to fund your writing? What's your day job? What sort of a job will compliment writing? I'd like to see how other people manage it.

I love my job. I spent three years slogging through university for it, so I'd be disappointed if I didn't. I also feel like I'm making a significant difference, and regardless of what happens after I die, what happens in the future ect, I've already made a significant contribution before 25 years of age that can never be taken from me.

I like that. I'm currently (could change, who knows), not the marriage and kids type. So I like the idea that my job lets me have an impact and some kind of legacy.



I've found this to be extremely common with fiction writers. Too much isolation does show in the fiction. I get out in the world and spend far more time outside the house doing new things, and going to new places, than any of my nine to five friends. I think doing so is important.

This is another reason why I like my work. Gets me out and about an meeting heaps of different people. I'll go from a 25 year old man with man flu to an old Jamaican grandmother to some young idiot who's got himself stabbed. And then some days I just might deal with nothing but nursing home UTIs. It's always different though, and I find it interesting how common people's experiences of pain and suffering are, and how relieved they all are to have an ambulance show up.

I dislike the idea that "not being able to write full time" means you've failed at the whole writing thing somehow (not saying that anyone in this thread has said this, but it's sometimes quite heavily implied). I love both my jobs, and they help each other out. Being a medic helps give me fuel for my writing, and my writing gives me a way to express and deal with some of the stuff that I get as a medic. For me, at least, it's a symbiotic relationship.

noranne
05-08-2015, 07:21 AM
I do not like my day job. It is stiflingly boring, and I hate knowing that I am unnecessary and wasting my own time and my company's. I feel very guilty about how little I do, but I've asked for more work and not really gotten any, and I have gotten very positive performance reviews so I guess I'm not too terrible.

But I do admit it is a great job aside from the fact I hate it. Somewhat flexible hours, 40 hours a week, little oversight, good pay and benefits, short commute. So for now I am trying just to grit it out and save as much as I can (my savings account is called "Writing Dreams"). I am also taking some night classes to possibly change careers into something that I may enjoy more, although I am still unsure about that--I suspect that I just hate working and will never be happy until I can retire or write. Seeing as no one has shown the slightest inclination to pay me for my fiction, I've got a long slog ahead of me.

eyeblink
05-08-2015, 10:17 PM
I didn't like my day jobs (three before now, for the same major telecommunications company) for many years. I particularly didn't like the one I was doing for a couple of years until the end of February this year, and that was shared by the rest of the team I was in. However, if I do have to have a day job, and I do, then one where I get six and a half weeks' leave due to having been there for twenty-six years, one where I can walk to work in 10-15 minutes so no transport costs, and which pays well compared to similar jobs in other companies, does compensate for quite a bit. Also, it pays for all the other things, such as holidays. And I do meet people, even if only the other members of the team. I can also justify it to myself in that I am helping people (business customers) run their businesses.

That said, the job I started in March and I finish training for in a couple of weeks is challenging but seems to be a lot more my cup of tea than dealing with customer complaints. In fact we hardly deal with end customers at all.

Let's face it. I realised long ago that I was far from the most commercial writer out there. My short fiction (published, including two collections which were not self-published) goes all over the genre map . My novels (unpublished) are contemporary YA. I also spend a lot of time writing reviews (mostly of films, DVDs and Blu-rays). So I'm well aware I won't be a full-time writer until I retire from the day job which could (hopefully) be when I turn sixty, which is nine and a half years away.

kwanzaabot
05-16-2015, 08:26 AM
Anyone here ever seen Midnight Cowboy? They based it on my life.

Seriously though, I'm an unemployed retail wage-slave going to school to learn how to be an unemployed nurse.
The Australian job market is... not good.

Moon Daughter
05-16-2015, 02:42 PM
I'm 911. I'm lucky because my job allows me to read and write in between calls, so it's pretty awesome...except for the part where I get yelled at, called a bitch, or am being threatened with a lawsuit.

Chrissy
05-16-2015, 08:43 PM
I'm also a CPA, mostly tax preparation and light-to-moderate off-season work. No time to write during busy season--7 days a week, 10-12 hours a day--which is usually when the urge to write kicks in. Plenty of time--whole weeks at a time--to write in the off-season, which is usually when procrastination and self-doubt kick in.

TessB
05-16-2015, 09:09 PM
I'm a backstage theatre person, and my time gets divided between teaching theatre (during the college year) and designing/building shows (April-August). I love what I do, but I hate chasing contracts every six months. As of September I become a full-time PhD student, so that's at least my next three years funded and scheduled.

blacbird
05-17-2015, 12:07 AM
Use a desk.

caw

Albedo
05-17-2015, 06:56 AM
Anyone can do a job they enjoy, but doing so does not build character. You build character by handling the hard times life throws at you without complaint.

Wow, I really disagree with this. If it was true, then I'd have to say that sorry, life's too short to build character, whatever that is. I don't need it.

When I was working in a particularly soul-destroying call centre job, all that grew within me was a huge resource of misanthropy that I'm still mining today. Call that character if you will. I don't think it really contributed to my personal growth.

My job now is hard and is stressful at times, but I do enjoy it and it is immensely personally rewarding. I can't imagine I'd get more out of it if I was miserable.

Anna Spargo-Ryan
05-17-2015, 10:19 AM
I like my job a lot. I work in digital strategy (focusing on content and social media) for a large magazine publisher. It's interesting and challenging and rewarding.

It also saps a lot of my creative energy. I really enjoy my work, but I sometimes wonder if doing something completely uncreative would get my books finished sooner.

Jamesaritchie
05-17-2015, 08:20 PM
Really? We're counting jobs while attending the University? Doesn't everybody hate those?

Poor fellow. Didn't sell Carrie until age 26. All those years of suffering. But good to hear he handled it well.

Well, in fairness, King was still broke, and still doing things he didn't like, when he sold Carrie. And he used all those things in his fiction, which is one reason he sold so much.

But I'm not a believer in suffering for your "art". If you want to, as Dean Koontz did, set a five year time limit, and if you have some way of supporting yourself for those five years, as Koontz did fine.

That should be enough for anyone to suffer. There comes a point when anyone should make sure they have a good education, as most successful writers do, and use that education to find a job that pays reasonably well, and that he or she enjoys doing.

It's easy, and even romantic, to suffer for your art when you're twenty, sometime even when you're thirty. Suffer too long, though, and you're going to spend your whole life suffering, and your "art" is not going to comfort you.

I can't think of any other business, and writing is a business, where people are will to go through life failing in hopes tomorrow will somehow be the day they become successful.

On a percentage basis, extremely few people can earn anything approaching a living as a writer. Ever. Trying is good, but too much suffering strikes me as silly. The best way to succeed Get a quality education in a field that gives you a job you want to do, and then worry about success at writing.

There are exceptions to everything, and it's easy to point to a writer here and there who succeeded without a formal education, but such writers are darned rare, and incredibly talented. Very, very few of them had to suffer very long before they became successful.

mbuhmann
05-18-2015, 06:06 PM
I worked as a freelancer in video production for 12 years. Due to competition and younger people (i.e. people with no family to support) I had to bow out of that and take a job for a company. I'm still sort of in the same field though, producing videos and photos for internal and external use. Not exceptionally exciting, but it's steady income and great health insurance.

juniper
05-18-2015, 10:48 PM
I think most writers, unless they are independently wealthy or dependent on someone else's money (spouse, family), have a day job of some sorts. If you like it, great! If you don't, well, at least you're supporting yourself and maybe getting some ideas for your writing. And in the USA, having a job can mean the difference between having adequate health care or not.

I have a day job I'm not crazy about, but it's fairly easy most of the time, pays well enough for the amount of work I do, is less than a mile away from home, and gives me 3 days off a week for my own life. It's also an ongoing source of frustration due to management problems, but eh, that's rather common, I think.

PandaMan
05-19-2015, 08:06 AM
I'm a self-employed geographer. My business involves Geographic Information Systems, Remote Sensing, Environmental & Statistical Modeling.

I'm also a fine art photographer. I mostly take travel and landscape photos, but I've been known to turn into the paparazzi at family gatherings. :greenie

Math & science feed my mind. Friends and family feed my heart, and photography & writing feed my soul.

LJackson
05-20-2015, 12:19 AM
I'm a senior system analyst dealing with integration of computer systems. I love my job and will never trade it for writing. I'm one of those that refuse to sit in front of the desk unless something is screaming at me to put it down. The thought of being a professional writer where you MUST write regardless... shudder....

I don't "find" time to write. Ideas usually pop into my head when I'm riding my horses, and if I ignore it, it becomes really annoying, so I finish my ride, get in the house, and write. I have been grounded for a month due to the wet weather condition (can't ride when the arena is flooded, grrr) so I have gotten no creativity these day. Sigh.

kuwisdelu
05-26-2015, 01:09 AM
Wow, I really disagree with this. If it was true, then I'd have to say that sorry, life's too short to build character, whatever that is. I don't need it.

When I was working in a particularly soul-destroying call centre job, all that grew within me was a huge resource of misanthropy that I'm still mining today. Call that character if you will. I don't think it really contributed to my personal growth.

My job now is hard and is stressful at times, but I do enjoy it and it is immensely personally rewarding. I can't imagine I'd get more out of it if I was miserable.

I'm with this. If doing what you hate is what it takes to build character, then life is too short to build character, if you can avoid it.

I've spent the past 5 years working on my PhD in statistics, and the end of my degree is finally within sight. With the experience I've built and projects I've worked on, I could probably work at any pharmaceutical company, mass spectrometry vendor, or tech company (e.g., Google, Microsoft, etc.) I wanted.

But I'm not going to do that any of that. I'll be applying for Creative Writing MFA programs this fall. Haven't told my advisor yet. I know I'm going to disappoint a lot of people. But I think I have to do this for me. And I can only hope I'll maintain some employability 2-3 years from now when I need it again.

Oh, please give me the strength to walk away from those nice salaries when the time comes.

Parametric
05-26-2015, 01:49 AM
I edit manuscripts, mainly for self-published writers. You would think this would be an invaluable opportunity to gain experience and inspiration as a writer. Unfortunately, I'm dumb and it's going over my head.

Fuchsia Groan
05-26-2015, 03:44 AM
I edit and write for a regional alt weekly newspaper -- excuse me, multimedia company! (We are one, but most readers still know us as a print paper.) It is never boring and frequently exhausting; we aren't one of those sleepy little papers, because we're constantly updating online content.

And I get yelled at by writers, because I handle books and write reviews. OK, not literally, not that often. But a poet cornered my boss at the YMCA pool and yelled at her because I hadn't reviewed his book yet and he's a Serious Author. Awkward. But when you're The Media, certain types of people seem to feel free to yell at you.

I get free books and a movie pass, too. That part's nicer.