Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Don't Quit Your Day Job

I need routine. Crave it. Thrive under it. I’m a teacher, so one would think that I would get so much writing done in the summers. One would be wrong.

I do get plenty of writing done in the summers—some summers more than others. But I find that my writing is often so much better once I go back to work. I believe it’s a combination of having only a certain about of time to write (versus having all day and frittering half of it away) and being forced to think about something other than writing eight+ hours of the day.

So often, writers dream of the day when they can quit their jobs and sit at home writing their next novel while surrounded by leather-bound books, fire crackling, sleeping dog at their feet. (That’s not just me, right?) And often they feel that they won’t be a “real” writer until they do it full time.

To that, I say bullshit. Yes, lots of writers are able to write full time. That works for them. Even more have day jobs—some out of necessity, others out of creative need.

I can only speak for myself, but judging from my writing life the past few years, my writing is better during the school year, when I’m listening to the cadence of language and having interesting conversations and keeping my mind busy until it’s time to pour myself onto the page.

You are living your life right now. There is no when, no waiting room. Your life is what you make it in this moment. In this moment, I am a teacher and a writer, and because I am both, I am better at both.

I started school yesterday. I’m exhausted. My feet hurt. It’s only 6 PM here and I’ve been craving bed for over an hour. But I’m also fulfilled, and in the last couple of days, I’ve managed to find the spark my revisions were missing.  In that respect, I went back to work at both of my jobs.

And in this moment, I wouldn’t have it any other way.


  1. I agree. I need a day job too - I crave routine and work well with it. Full time writing for me is like navigating a cave blindfolded. (Not easy!) Your kids are lucky to have you!