Friday, February 12, 2016

#WritersLife: The Day Job

#WritersLife, where I talk writing in real life.

So often I hear writers say they've had to pause their fantastic word sprinting because they had to go to their day job. I'm guilty of this. The term "day job" is what we call anything that gets us financially through our bills and groceries so we can write in the early morning or late at night.

But I'm starting to wonder if this is hindering us. Specifically, if this is hindering me. 

I have had many job titles in my life: costume character, driver assistant, warehouse hand, copywriter, college tutor, editorial assistant, web content manger, and reporter. I've jumped the fields a couple times since I was 17, but it remains the same: all these jobs were and are my "day jobs" because they're not jobs I want to have forever. 

Unfortunately, while talking about our day jobs finds us friends who can understand the struggle, it keeps us locked in place. Sure, we may not want to be working 8-5 until we retire, but then a promotion comes up or we're in for a raise and suddenly, making a little more money sounds like it could only help. Forget that you may be too tired to write because you can cover even more things in life.

I appreciate all my jobs, but I can say that most writers, literary agents, publishers, and editors don't call what they do their "day job." You know what they do call it?

Living their dream. Doing what they love. A daily adventure. An excuse to read books and not get yelled at by parents and teachers for being unproductive. 

I recently spoke with a wonderful friend and writing buddy whose name is Rae (and everyone should go and say hi because she is so wonderful!) and I realized I'm letting these other things take up my time. They're not bad, not at all, but when they all become priorities over the hour and a half or two hours I need to write 1500 words, I have a problem. 

I need to eat, but I also need to write. It's what I was called to do on this earth. I am terrible at speaking in person, and all my friends can attest to that. I stumble, I stutter, I combine words to make things like "Hillo!" instead of just "hi" or "hello." 

But I'm pretty decent with the written word. I not only speak better when my mouth is shut, but I communicate with and understand others on a much deeper level. Writing is a part of me, and I need to make sure it's an important part.

So yes, referring to my "day jobs" is amusing and relatable, but it would be even better if my "day job" was my "dream job": professional panda hugger.

Or author. I'll gladly take either. 

#StopTheDayJobAbuseAndLiveYourDreams (this isn't a real hashtag although I guess now it is so I don't know where I was going with this and here is an example of how I talk in person.)

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