Dear Agony Editor,
I’m currently working on my sophomore novel. With each passing day, I’m growing more resentful of my day job. I’m not naive enough to believe I can support myself fully with my writing, but I hate the fact that I can’t write full-time. I don’t want to become bitter, but bitter is all I’m feeling these days. How do I reconcile my two careers?
Dear Bank Guy,
I understand your frustration. In an ideal world, you would be able to earn a living doing the one thing you feel is your true calling. But we don’t live in an ideal world. And that means you need to make compromises.
Your primary goal should be making enough money to support yourself. That means being able to pay your bills, save a little money if you can, and still have enough left over to buy an overpriced latte.
But earning a living doesn’t mean letting go of your writerly dreams. You might benefit from a mind shift. Your day job doesn’t prevent you from writing; it enables you to write. If your sophomore book tanks, having a steady paycheque means the financial impact doesn’t hit you as hard. And your day job could free you up to write the books you want to write, rather than chase after commercial success (not that there’s anything wrong with that).
Are you really convinced you’d be writing day in and day out without the interference of that pesky day job? Can you honestly say you’d be more productive than you are now? There will always be some obstacle, whether real or imagined, that we feel is preventing our success in life. The real secret to success is knowing how to work with the cards you’re holding and use them to your advantage. Your day job no doubt equips you with unique skills that could benefit your writing career. Use everything in your tool box wisely and apply those tools to your writing life.
Lastly, while talent is one of the things that can lead to a writer’s success, tenacity is the other half of that equation. Don’t give up, count your blessings, and keep writing every chance you get.