Some freelance writers give up their day jobs to focus full time on their writing. Others have the unenviable task of trying to write whilst holding down a day job. Many people think that having a job will hinder the time to write, especially those people who also have a family to manage as well. Yes, time will be restricted, and yes you will be exhausted, but it is possible and there are advantages in working as well as writing.
Consider the following:
It’s been done before. Many famous authors including Lewis Carroll, Anne Rice, Bram Stoker and Virginia Woolf have had day jobs whilst becoming successful in their writing. They may be famous, but living or dead they were ordinary people who worked hard in applying their craft whilst working elsewhere. If they can do it, there is no reason why you cannot.
A day job will pay your way. It is no secret that freelance writing doesn’t always pay as well as you hoped. It takes a lot of hard work to get your work noticed and to achieve the higher paid writing gigs. Having another job will help you to stay afloat financially.
Allow your job to fuel your creativity. Whatever the job, there is likely some scope for interaction with others. This can help when creating characters for your fiction. A casual conversation can lead to inspiration for a topic. The local scenery, be it a brick wall or flowered garden can inspire a work of poetry. Your day job does not have to be exclusive to your writing. It can fuel it!
Timetable your writing. Whatever your daily routine try and factor your writing into the day’s ritual. Do you have time to write for an hour before you go to work? Can your partner look after your children, if any, whilst you find a quiet spot to write before or after work? Find those moments when you will have a little quiet to write. Being single may make this easier but it’s important that if you live with others that they respect your need for space. We all need a hobby outside of work and writing could be yours. I know those with families have to deal with the unexpected but as far as possible, stick with the time you give yourself each day.
You do not want to hit burnout due to exhaustion from doing too much but if you have the impulse to write, then do it. It may only be a little each day but that’s okay. The ark wasn’t built in a day and neither will your novel. Meryl Streep didn’t become an Oscar winning actress overnight and neither will your Pulitzer Prize winning career as a journalist. It’s easy to see your day-job as an obstacle to your writing but it does not have to be. Do what you can, when you can, and you will be rewarded.