Writing: Main Or Side Job?

I’m neither the first nor the last to ponder whether to consider writing a main or side job. Frankly, I’m actually at a point where writing isn’t even a job at the moment, which might play better in the long term but is rather detrimental to my short term goals.

I’m bringing this up now because I find myself – once again – confronted with the dreaded “what do I do next year” question I never want to answer. I have been advised to keep my current job, because a) it’s a job with b) a salary. I understand that. At least, rationally. The part of me that pleads “no more!” however, sees it differently. The amount of time spent on preparing and planning classes, on going to class, on grading papers, not to mention the increasing amount of student-related frustration leave me hard pressed to say “yes please!” to another year.

I’d love to think of writing as my main job, while putting up with some day job as (still-rather-undecided-job-title). But when I spend close to no time at all on actually writing, you know there’s a problem. I’m not looking for a “dream job,” but ideally a job I’m comfortable doing and, hopefully, good at. A job where I don’t come home a sack of nerves and buzzing with annoying thoughts.

But maybe that’s too idealistic. Maybe I won’t find such a day job until writing is my day job! Even then, new annoyances would pop up and I’d get frustrated by all the things that make writing so hard and confusing.

So tell me, is writing your main job even though it’s on the side? Do you sneak extra hours instead of sleeping just to write those extra three lines? Or is writing your side job you do when you’re in the mood and have some spare time?

Ali J.

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