Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Prithee, Inform Me: Day Jobs

All this talk of professional writing has got me wondering, mes auteurs: how many of you have a "day job" that pays the bills, and how many of you are already (o joy!) writing professionally?

Thus: a poll!



(If you've got a tricky in-between answer, feel free to clarify in the comments.)

41 comments:

  1. I marked yes, but only work 3 hours per week, so not sure if that qualifies. I only see three clients a week in my private practice, because I cut way back after having kids. I'd rather be with my kids than working right now. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I chose no, but I'm a SAHM. So what I really meant was, I have no paying day job.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I marked yes, but I am about to leave and do an MA for a year, at the end of which I'll probably have to get a day job again.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I have a day job. I get the majority of my writing done on my commute into Boston. I get awesome benefits. I get a good salary (especially for publishing). I don't think I'd leave my job even if I could make ends meet through my writing.

    ReplyDelete
  5. No, house sitting does pay the bills but it's not a legit desk job, it fills in the strange stretch of breaks I have in between semesters. Yay college life.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I am a technical writer by day and love it. I'm a bit of a geek at heart, so this satisfies my need to tinker.

    But at night, I can cut loose and indulge my fiction interests.

    ReplyDelete
  7. No paying day job. But would love one!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I'm ready to write 8 to 12 hours a day. Unfortunately, I have a day job.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I guess I have several part-of-the-day "day jobs" which add up. I work as a freelance editor, teach writing, and do some ghostwriting and research projects. I fit the "real" writing in between everything else; but because I work at home most of the time, people do think I can write all day. I wish.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I am a SQL developer for an Online University. so 40+ hours a week. That being said I would trade it in a minute for being able to write full time

    ReplyDelete
  11. I'm an IT Technician. I use it often on my blog to train at storytelling. A lot of funny things can happen on the clock.

    ReplyDelete
  12. My "day job" is building up my freelance writing business, which does not yet pay the bills. As I have a husband who DOES pay the bills (still snorting over the oh-so-true comment on the last post!) I get to do all the work associated with running a house, including the taxes and dealing with the vast amount of paperwork and running around involved when you have a disabled family member. So in fact I have TWO day jobs! Fiction writing gets relegated to the quieter times, if any.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I average 10-20 hours per week at my loverly retail job. I've been at the same store for 9 years now, and have held every position from the bottom to the (almost)top. I'm beginning to think I'll be there forever.

    I do put in full-time hours with writing, though. Probably more; I don't actually clock it.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Yep, have a day job consisting of college, in addition to the 'help people with their essays' student job.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I'm a teacher with summers off - so I write all summer - or send out queries as is such this year. It took three summers to write my novel start to finish

    ReplyDelete
  16. I feel like you're setting up a false dichotomy here. There are plenty of published authors who also have day jobs, like acclaimed fantasy author James D. MacDonald, co-author of newly-released LINCOLN'S SWORD (he's an EMT). John Scalzi, who you linked a few days back, doesn't support himself solely on novels, successful as he is. He freelances for corporate clients, and he probably gets more money from it than he does from his books.

    One would be hard-pressed to say that either of these gentlemen isn't "writing professionally." I don't have hard numbers, but I'd guess there are more novelists with day jobs than there are novelists supporting themselves solely on income from their novels.

    And not everyone would quit their day job if they could support themselves purely on freelancing, either. I love my day job, and not just for the benefits.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I'm a freelance copy editor--that's my paying gig and I'm not sure I'd let it go even when (when, not if)I start selling my novels. I like editing...it's fun...

    ReplyDelete
  18. I had a day job at a book printer for 12 years, but was laid off a couple of weeks ago. So now I'm working freelance and writing. Even though it's not fun being unemployed, I've noticed that the ideas for my novel are flowing better.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I left my full-time job at an educational nonprofit, took a less-than-part-time job that still pays well, and devote all the rest of my time to writing.

    But because I set my resume on fire and ditched out of my carefully built career (for which I earned a master's degree...), I consider my main job writing.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I am really, really lucky to be able to make a living on my writing. It might be impossible if my husband didn't have a good job with health insurance. I spent about 15 years fantasizing about leaving the corporate world. It has made a huge difference in my sanity.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Day job, and in grad school to someday get a better day job! Have to support myself somehow, even if balancing both those things with writing and everything else will keep me insanely busy for the next two years.

    ReplyDelete
  22. As I said in my guest post here, I wrote full time for a while but I'm happy to have a day job again. After starting as a salary man, I was amazed the first time I got paid. I didn't have to hassle anyone, threaten legal action, or wait months for the check. (All of which I had to do for one or more of my freelance writing gigs.) No muss. No fuss. They just paid me.

    Now I get to focus on the writing that matters to me most, and in my day job work on a website that millions of people visit each month.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I have a day job... or two... but many, perhaps most, of the writers' blogs I read are written by stay-at-home moms or students. I wonder how many writers don't have a day job BECAUSE they can support themselves with their writing, not because a spouse or students loans are currently paying the bills? Also, I wonder if full-time parenting or studying should count as a "job" for the purposes of this survey. It doesn't pay, but it's work being done all day for an important or necessary purpose.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I work 50 hours a week - minimum. Writing seems more like a hobby for me; but everyone needs one of those, right? That's probably why I haven't even got anything published in a e-zine; just not time to devote to the constant querying, let alone revision and actual writing effort.

    I'd love to do freelance someday though. I think that'd be awesome. I'm sure that takes as much time and effort in hunting down the paying work as querying and writing does though.

    ........dhole

    Hey Eric; why don't you do a post on how to become a frelance writer and what it involves?

    ReplyDelete
  25. Major day job working for the guv'ment (state that is) creating and screwing up paychecks.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I have a full-time (40 hours) day job that I, truthfully, don't enjoy at all. I like the people I work with, but I'm only with the company because it pays the bills and has somewhat decent benefits.

    I'm also a full-time single mom. Somehow, I still manage to put in about 20-30 hours of writing and about 20 hours of reading in every week. I'm slightly obsessed with the written word.

    I do hope to one day scale down to part-time on the day job, though I've only just finished my first novel last week. I'm not holding my breath... yet.

    ReplyDelete
  27. 'how many of you have a "day job" that pays the bills, and how many of you are already (o joy!) writing professionally?'

    This seems to me like two separate questions, but the poll only lists one.

    I hope to soon be writing professionally, but I don't expect that to support me in the style to which I've become accustomed (or to which I'm willing to accustom myself).

    ReplyDelete
  28. I'm an editor for a military organization (at least 40 hours a week), a real estate agent, a writer (just received the first installment of my advance so I'm officially getting paid), and a single mom. Safe to say I'm gainfully employed.

    ReplyDelete
  29. I don't have a day job, but that's because I'm fortunate enough to have other people to pay the bills. I hope my writing will eventually allow me to contribute (even in a relatively small way) to the family income, but I'm not at that point yet.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Writing IS my day job, so technically, yes, I have a day job...

    ReplyDelete
  31. We needed more options... freelance writer, so yes, writing IS the day job, but not the "right" kind writing.

    ReplyDelete
  32. I write fiction, but my mild-mannered alter ego ~ er, day job ~ is as an editor and a professional writer for a foundation. I am so lucky because I like my day job and because what I write it feeds into my fiction, but it's enough different that it doesn't drain vital fiction energy. Plus, paradoxically, I find myself more productive when I have less time because I don't fritter away what little time I have. (Plus I have four-year-old twins.)

    Good job, everyone here, for getting things written despite obstacles!

    ReplyDelete
  33. Day job writing marketing materials and freelancing for trade publishers. Love my work because most of what I do helps other writers get their books out into the world--and what could be better than that? Still, it's tough doing all that ms reading when I'm working on my own novel revisions at night!

    ReplyDelete
  34. Tattooist: I call it a day job, but really, I draw and play and have fun for a living! :)

    ReplyDelete
  35. I definitely still have my day job (I've been an HIV vaccine researcher for almost 20 years now) but in many ways it facilitates my writing as I have open access to a huge amount of paid content through my position at the University, mostly through periodical subscriptions. I also have access to the free interlibrary loan arrangment between all the Universities in Ontario. This allows me access to cutting edge science and pretty much any other topic I need to research for my writing. I pretty much can't quit my day job, just for this reason alone!

    ReplyDelete
  36. 45-60 hours a week. Telecommunications. Awesomeness.

    ReplyDelete
  37. I sling Baked Spasagana for a living (IE: wait tables ) I really do like my job. But, really? Of course I would rather write for a living! Bring on the day!

    ReplyDelete
  38. Technically I have a night job.

    I work in a sex shop. Nudity, all the David Bowie I care to blast, and a strong Wi-Fi connection. In the slower hours, I write my blogs, catch up with publishing news, and work on my novel.

    Go ahead, be envious :p

    ReplyDelete
  39. My 9-5 used to be advertising. When my soul was significantly sucked dry, I moved to fundraising and social media for a non-profit. While I can look myself in the mirror now, I'd still prefer to be parked in front of my laptop 40 hours a week.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Day job, alas. My mom told me the other day, trying to be helpful no doubt, that it was better to have a job that's awful than one you love because you'd (presumably) put all your energy into a loved job and have none left over for writing. Thanks, Ma.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Get Packers and Movers Jaipur List of Top Reliable, 100% Affordable, Verified and Secured Service Provider. Get Free ###Packers and Movers Jaipur Price Quotation instantly and Save Cost and Time. Packers and Movers Jaipur ✔✔✔Reviews and Compare Charges for household Shifting, Home/Office Relocation, ***Car Transportation, Pet Relocation, Bike SHifting @ Packers And Movers Jaipur

    ReplyDelete