Happy Hump Day from all of us at Writer's Words of Wisdom! Today I'd like to revisit a post I did in October 2012. At that time my husband and I discussed how to swing our budget enough so I could devote more time to writing. We agreed the time wasn't right for me to leave a career I'd had for twenty years, and the security it provided us...just yet.
Well, things have changed. My husband is now finishing out his last year in the Coast Guard and will retire at his 20 year mark in 2014. At the time of this writing, it's exactly one year away. We've also decided he won't be the only one retiring. Next summer I'll hang up my lab coat,stethoscope, and little black bag. I'll no longer be a full time practicing veterinarian. It wasn't an easy decision to make, but one we're definitely ready to take on.
The advice I gave last year still holds true today as it did then. If you talk to the big names in the writing community, they'll tell you the exact same thing. Having the dream of just writing full time and not worrying about the real world issues isn't realistic for the majority of our author community. In fact, there are many "newbies" just starting out, not yet published or just out of the gate, who have the misguided notion that all they have to do is shut themselves up in their writing cave and success will follow...and the money to pay the bills. Sorry, chicas. Hate to burst your bubble but that's not the real world...yet!
Yes you read the title correctly. I'll repeat it again. Do not quit your "evil" day job in order to write full time UNTIL...
and this is a big one...
UNTIL you are in a place in your life where your writing can pay ALL of your bills. As a writer just starting out and for probably many more years to come, you will not make the big bucks that many folks outside of our industry think we do. Sure we all have the dreams of hitting it big and becoming an "overnight" success, but the fact remains that ALL of us will be struggling for a long time before we see some sort of profit from our endeavors.
That Evil Day Job may be taking up time in your day that you could be writing, but it's also giving you an income to pay those pesky bills, providing you with medical benefits, and the money you need to promote your work. Let's be realistic folks. The real world tends to frown on us when we don't pay our bills. We need electricity, the Internet, our laptops and PCs, and a roof over our heads in order to create our fantasy worlds.
If you are lucky enough to have a partner/family there to help support you so you can explore your dream job as a full time writer, than by all means do it. Take that plunge if you are able, but don't do it if it means putting you and your family in the poor house.
A couple of my author friends are now in the position where their writing provides the bulk of the money that supports their family. Not only do they put out new novels, they write articles for newspapers and magazine, provide editorial services for other authors, create covers and video trailers for others as well as themselves, and still find time to promote themselves and their latest release.
Juggling multiple jobs isn't something new. The majority of the authors I've met over the last year have found ways to juggle their many hats and make a name for themselves. These authors are my inspiration and have encouraged me to find ways to squeeze in my writing time every single day and to be realistic in my expectations. The economy has hit the veterinary profession hard and I may lose one of the days I work at the hospital. That's a scary thought, but thankfully we do have a plan in place.
If my books take off, great! If it takes five, six or ten more books to get my name noticed, then so be it. The fact is I'm still living my dream. I'm a published author with many more stories to tell. I'll let my Evil Day Job as a veterinarian help pay the bills while I keep writing. My husband is in the Coast Guard so we have a guaranteed income and additional medical benefits. If I have to work less days at the veterinary hospital, we will still be okay financially, still have full medical benefits, and I can still pursue my writing career.
Do you have a plan? Check out this fantastic blog post by John Scalzi "Unasked-For Advice to New Writers About Money." This can be a real eye-opener for many folks and fantastic advice.
Until next week,
Learn More About Tammy
Tammy Dennings Maggy is a multi-published poet and erotic romance author with Siren and Sassy Vixen Publishing. Her writing explores many facets of romance from ultimate betrayal to finding your soul mate. Her poetry serves as a companion to her novels and has inspired entire series all on their own. Tammy and her alter egos Lia Michaels and Stephanie Ryan make up the core authors at Sassy Vixen Publishing and together they've created the shared world series Temptations Resort. Look for the first books in that series to come out later this year.
Now happily married to her own Muse and soul mate, she continues to live her dream and act as secretary to all her characters demanding to have their stories told.
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