Articles About Authors with Day Jobs:
Lapham's Quarterly - Dayjobs
Huffington Post - 11 Authors Who Kept Their Dayjobs
Writer's Digest - Before They Were Famous
Mental Floss - Early Jobs of 24 Famous Writers
Buzzfeed - Famous Authors and Their Dayjobs
Did You Click Buzzfeed - That Was a Test
Stop Reading Buzzfeed Articles - Go Write
No Seriously - Go Write
So this was my first week back at work. About two minutes after I stepped into the building, I started a conversation with a co-worker and mentioned my writing room.
"Oh, are you still writing that series?" she asked.
"Yes?" I said.
Then she gave the look. If you're a writer with a day job, you know what look I'm talking about. It's the look that reminds you how your dreams are silly little things.
It's difficult to be in an environment where no one knows how serious you're taking this, how hard you work to keep both the day job and the night job going, or who you really are and where you're going.
I once said to a friend that there is a fine line between the deluded and the successful when it comes to art.
So it's important to remember, fellow dayjobbers, that our coworkers do not define us. Our daily chores do not make us failures. And if we want it bad enough, we need to remember that there are a hundred thousand people who did it before us. If we want this for ourselves, then we need to stick to it and stand on our own and make it a priority in our lives.
So here, I'm making rules for us:
1. If you have time to write, then write. One author shared his story of writing seven hours straight on the days he had off. You don't get a day off if this is what you want.
2. Don't worry about how others define you. Remember, everyone has a job and no one's life is completely encompassed in their job.
3. Don't feel guilty for taking time to make your writing a priority. You cannot always live for other people.
4. No one has a for-sure success in the future. Everyone, even J.K. Rowling and Margaret Atwood, has at some point felt like a loser and wondered if it was worth it. So make it worth it (and by the way, Rowling was on welfare/worked as a teacher before that, and Atwood was a coffee shop barista).
5. Set deadlines for yourself and do not allow yourself to waver or come up short. Give it your best shot so you won't regret anything.
6. Ask those around you in your personal life to support you. If they love you, they will support you.
7. Make friends in your writing community, even if it's just online. In 2014, I don't think it's "just online," I think it's a huge resource.
8. Give yourself a writing space or a place to go write. Turn off the internet. Focus. If you can't write, then read. Blog. Network. But for God's sake, do not Buzzfeed.
9. Believe in yourself. Advocate for yourself. Love yourself.
10. Finally, submit. Nothing will come of you just sitting there type type typin'. Even if you get a rejection, you're having a conversation with the external writing world.
Have a great year, everyone. And if you need a day job writer friend, you know where to find me.
Survival of the Day Job 2014
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Dawson is a writer. This is her blog. In it, you shall read about reading. And writing. And cheeseburgers. Sometimes there are tangents. Huzzah.