Friday, May 25, 2012

Day jobs and moving forward

Don't quit your day job.

Wise words that I've heard time and time again. As fun as writing is, it's never going to pay the bills. After all, every writer I know has had another job to supplement what little income they make from writing. However, most of the people who talk about how important it is to keep your day job, are also people who have good paying, enjoyable jobs. As much as they might want to have more time to write, they by no means dread going into work every day.

What's the advice for someone who has a part time, minimum wage job that not only doesn't pay the bills but makes the person miserable?

I've been doing the same crummy job for nine months now, and have been talking about quitting for about eight. It was a temporary thing, and at first it really did help. I had enough hours to scrape by and it got me out of the house regularly.  As the hours began to get cut (down to maybe 8 a week) and the atmosphere went from bad to worse, I realized I needed to get out.

The thing that has held me there for so long is the complete lack of opportunities. For whatever reason, it's been impossible to find a different job. I have a BA in history and a diploma in graphic design. I should be able to find something, from secretary work to a junior design position, especially since I do have the experience. However, after eleven years of working at seventeen jobs, not counting freelance work, I've come to realize something. I'm not satisfied with a job that simply pays the bills. If I'm going to be doing something that takes up the majority of my time and energy ever day, I need it to be something that I love.

After watching the commencement speech by Neil Gaiman, I made a decision. In his speech he talks about how the most important thing you need to do, besides making good art, is to always be working toward your goal. If your offered a job that doesn't place you a little closer to your goal, then it really isn't the right thing for you to be doing. For a long time I wasn't sure what my goal was. I was in denial. It seems so blindingly obvious to me right now that I can't believe I couldn't see it before. I'm a writer. That's what I love. That's what I've always loved. There will always be other things that I'll enjoy doing for a time such as drawing and graphic design, but writing is always what I'll come back to.

What does all of this mean?

Well, despite all of the wise advice, I've made the move and quit my day job. It's time to move forward toward my goal. I am well aware of how hard it's going to be. I know that there's a good chance I won't be able to pay my bills. However, I can't continue letting that fear keep me from doing what I know I should be doing. While this isn't the right move for everyone, for me I know that it's the step I need to take.

Now it's time to emerge myself in the terrifying and highly competitive world of freelance writing.

It's time for everything to change.

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