Saturday, January 22, 2011

Wildcard Weekend - Juggling The Day Job

Brigid Coady surfaces briefly to talk juggling

As we all know, no one goes into writing to make a fortune. And if you are still on the other side of the publishing door as a Gonnabe then you are not making any money at this at all.

Which means you need a day job (or a very rich husband that can afford staff so you don't actually have to look after the kids or clean or stuff). I have neither the husband or the kids bit I do have a mortgage and an addiction to books (and expensive makeup... need to keep up appearances if I want to find the man). This means that most days of the week between the hours of 9 and whenever I am allowed out I will be found doing something else. I will have my mind filled with other things which drown out my characters and make me lose that all important thread of motivation. It is hard to hang on to creativity when you are schmoozing.

So how do I keep going? How can any of us keep juggling with the day job? What I have learnt it that I must take the time when I can. If work isn't too busy then I'll leave on time and refuse to sweat the small stuff when I get home. I know that in a few weeks time it will go manic again and swamp me so I make the most of the times when it isn't.

I try not to think about work first thing in the morning when showering and commuting. I use those minutes to think on my book, work out problems that I might not get to implementing to the weekend but it means that there is less thinking to worry about when I get down to writing.

But mostly I try and get rid of the guilt. I refuse to feel guilty that my writing sometimes gets overtaken by the day job, the day job is my bread and butter and in this economical climate I can't let it slide. I also refuse to feel guilty for taking an hour for lunch and doing some writing if I get a chance. The happier I am, the better I will be doing.

How do you juggle the day job?

This month Brigid is querying agents with her YA book, The Stone Voice.


  1. Bridgid, I am sooooo there with you. I have a very intensive day job as well that averages 50-60 hours per week. I tend to write between 9pm and midnight. Though there are usually two or three days I can't because I get home late and I'm exhausted. However, I learned ago that was okay, because weekends I could make it up.

    And when weekends get taken over by the job then I plan for a writing vacation that is away from home, phones, etc. I take at least three of those a year for long weekends of three to four days each.

    Over the past six years this strategy has yielded me about 1.5 novels a year. Not Nora Roberts, but I'm okay with that--at least until I retire.

    Congrats to you for balancing. eep it up and good luck with your queries.

  2. Every week I check the lottery thinking "this week...then I'll give up the day job and write full time". Still waiting tho'. But I'm luckier than most, I only work part time at present - 3 days a week - so this *should* leave me plenty of time to write. Then Monday morning comes round and I realise (bad me) that I haven't hit my target again (if at all). My mojo is gone at the moment - I'm moving house so that is consuming me at present. Well that's my excuse anyway! Caroline x

  3. We have a lot in common! I, too, on the drive to work think about my story and once I leave work - I leave work behind. It takes a while once I'm home to get focused on the story. I exercise and shower (water releases the muse apparently) and read what I wrote the day before to get my mind where it needs to be. And then I'm off to get my page count in (hopefully).

  4. I no longer have a day job but I did when I first started writing - and I was one of the luckiest people on earth. I did all of my writing at the office! I was a secretary/dogsbody at a very small engineering company and a lot of the time I was on my own. So when the office work was done - the writing began. I accidentally left it out on my desk one day and my boss found out, but he was intrigued and interested more than anything else. And so long as my work was done he didn't mind how I spent the rest of my time.

    Happy days!