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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Great Thing About a Day Job

Having a day job is great for writing for several reasons. And Noooooo, don't think I am writing this post just to remind myself of these things, because I'm NOT.


1. I make way better use of time when there is less of it
. Sad but true. When I was in college, I got better grades because I worked a part-time job. It is amazing how much you will study for a Chemistry* test scheduled for Friday on a Tuesday night if that is the only night you have free.

2. Being around children and books is very inspirational if you are a children's writer. I could insert a big fat "Duh" here, but I sometimes forget how lucky I am to be totally engulfed in children's literature....and kids. AND, I get to write with children half of the time. If you have never done this, you must. Kids are the greatest. Today in writing club, Ethan M. was writing his book called Stupid Things Never To Do. Seriously, if I was in a bookstore and saw a book with that title, I'd totally pick it up.

3. Having another source of income gives me freedom in my writing. True. With my well-being not dependent upon writing something that will SELL, I can focus on writing something that I really love. Hopefully it will sell, but when I have started a book strictly because I think it will sell well, it's inauthentic voice usually kills it before it is done.

4. Writing is a treat, rather than drudge work. Not that my other job is drudge work, but I look forward to writing when I get home, when I get up, when I have a lunch break at school. It releases me from the stresses of the day and lets me live in another world for a while, making me far saner when I return to reality.

5. I cut myself huge amounts of slack in the housework department. Sorry, I'm a working mom...I don't have time to do that stuff when the reality is that I just don't like to do that stuff.

See, so except for the inability to go to the bathroom whenever I want, having a day job is great for writing...really.

Okay, sometimes in the summer Iget bigger chunks of time, like a few weeks, in which to write and I dream that I'll get SO MUCH MORE done...but it never happens. I get a little more done, then I get filled with jealousy for those who do not have a day job...until mine starts up again and I realize it is yin and fudge and icecream....steak and french fries. You know, they need each other. My work needs my writing and my writing needs my work.


*Like I really took Chemistry in college!! Ha! Sorry, did not happen. I did take Calculus, got an A, then took Math for Elementary School Teachers and got a B. There, now you know number 8 on the 10 most embarassing things about me list.


Shannon O'Donnell said...

Ha ha ha ha ha! Great post, Shelley - I thoroughly enjoyed it! :-)

Myrna Foster said...

So true.

Lisa and Laura said...

Number 5 is my favorite and the thing I miss most about not working anymore. Now that I'm officially a SAHM I have no excuse. Boo!

Natalie said...

I would read Stupid Things Never To Do too! That sounds awesome.

Shelli said...

wait so i need a day job in order to slack on housework - yikes dont tell my hubby that :)

Susan R. Mills said...

Ha! I agree with your #1. I've noticed that the less time I have, the more I get done. It's funny how that happens isn't it?

storyqueen said...

Shannon-thanks, you know it's all true!

Myrna-I know, right?

L and L-Seriously, I almost left that one off! How could I forget?

Natalie-I knew I liked you!

Shelli-Now, there are some supermoms out there who can do it all, but I'll eat my laptop if someone can be a mom, work a full time job, keep an immaculate house AND write. Maybe they are also vampires and never sleep...?

Susan-Yeah, When life gets busier and busier, I seem to get more and more writing done...over the holidays, not so much.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

I may need to hire Ethan to come up with titles for my books. That is most awesome. And so are you for this fine and funny post.

Kelly H-Y said...

You are too funny! Great list! #1 is so very true ... the less time you have, the more efficient you are!

Carrie Harris said...

Snarf. I'd buy that book too.

Tess said...

So true! I love having a part time job for the sole reason of being able to say, "sorry, I think I'm working that day". And, I am also one who gets more done the less time I have. Wierd, eh?

Kim said...

Why IS that? Why do we get so much less done when we have all that time on our hands? I'm pitiful in that department. Truly pitiful.

Dawn Simon said...

That Math for Elementary School Teachers was so flippin' hard! All of that probability and stuff...yeesh. My brain doesn't work that way.

Your posts are always so fun. :)

Solvang Sherrie said...

I miss working in the classroom. Kids have such amazing energy. I always came home smiling.

Julie Dao said...

Amazing post. Maybe it is better to never let your writing become your primary job!