Confession. I went back to work. I went back to work! When I left my last day job three years ago to freelance write full time I swore I would never go back. Ever. That job sucked the life out of my soul. I was tired of my bosses not being able to make decisions. Being around coworkers that acted more like high schoolers than adults was tiring too. I was ecstatic to break free and do my own thing. Things went well for awhile, I had steady clients and was making money. Then last year things started to fall apart. Platforms made changes, I lost some clients for reasons beyond my control, and trying to find new ones became a huge headache. Hearing crickets, lack of communication, and dropped interviews took it’s toll and I started to wonder if I should go back.
Confessions of a Writer with a Day Job
Trying to figure out whether to go back to a day job was absolute torture for me. I felt like a failure because I couldn’t make my freelance dream work like I wanted. I also felt like a failure because I knew I had to have a steadier income and going back was my only choice. However, in the midst of the chaos in my heart and mind, I heard a voice in my head say, “Ya know, you really need to finish that book.” That book is the manuscript I’m currently writing that I have been working on here and there over the past few years. Okay, I thought and I started to look for the dreaded day job.
I started looking and eventually got hired in October of last year. The first month was the hardest with many mixed emotions. I still have these emotions at times. Most days I’m thankful for having a job with steady pay. Other days I want to curl up in a ball and die. Call it the day job blues. I call it struggling with my true self. Some days it’s excrutiatingly difficult because I’m not doing what I’m supposed to be doing-writing books full time. However, I know I’ll get there.
A Blessing In Disguise
Then 2020 hit and the pandemic started, throwing us all for a loop. I find it ironic because I left the world of freelancing to find steadier work. Now here I am and my hours have been cut like everyone else’s. Still, it’s okay. The extra time I have had has been a blessing in disguise. How so? Well, check this out.
- I have the money I need for book related things (covers, formatting, stock photo subscription) etc. This is when I have my full hours.
- Two poetry book cover have been re-designed.
- I have written a HUGE chunk of my new novel since April 8th. A little over 81,000 words to be exact.
- I have hired a social media manager.
- My web site is getting more traffic.
- My social media is growing
- New website design.
- There are more eyes on my books because my social media is growing.
In essence, going back to work has been a good thing. I have been able to accomplish a lot since I have been back and with the extra time that I have currently. I will say that when I’m working my regular day job hours, I’m up early so I have at least two hours to write before I have to go to work. Regardless, I’m making progress a little at a time. That is key.
What About You?
Are you a writer that had to go back to a day job? Maybe you are a writer who is trying to figure out if you should start looking for more stable employment. I encourage you not to feel like a failure or be ashamed. Sometimes our dreams don’t work out like we think they will. Often, we have to pivot to do something new or familiar to get what we want. I had to do this in order to get the steady income I need to help move my author career forward. There are many authors who started where we are at now, working a job during the day and creating their dream at night. Literally.
- John Grisham was an attorney.
- Nicholas Sparks was a pharmaceutical sales rep.
- Nora Roberts worked briefly as a legal secretary.
- Debbie Macomber was a freelance writer for magazines.
Look where they are all at now? At the top of the charts! My point is, don’t let having to get a day job kill your dream. By creating our books with whatever time we have, we are essentially joining this elite group. We are doing what they had to do before their careers took off and with a lot of hard work, we can build our own solid tribes that love us and our work too. Am I saying we will ever be as big as the names mentioned above? I don’t know, anything is possible. Still, having our own tribes of fans-and it doesn’t have to be millions-is enough for us to earn a very comfortable living.
If you have to return or find a day job, embrace it. Use the money you can spare to push your career forward. Write more books, advertise, organize a virtual blog tour, whatever you have to do to keep moving in the right direction. You’re not a failure. You got this.