It has been a strange few weeks. I was laid off from my full-time job on March 29th. The lay off was completely unexpected as the company was expecting new business soon and my department already had more work than our six-person team could handle. I am, as of yet, unable to make a living solely from my writing income (although not working these past three weeks has allowed me more time to promote The “Volunteer” and sell more copies). I would need a few more titles to be able to make a go of being a full time writer, but at least I now have more time for writing, at least for the time being.
I had recently posted links to a couple of articles on my Facebook timeline about writing and avoiding full-time employment. One of those was written from an interview that Oprah Winfrey did with Cormac McCarthy in 2007. McCarthy talked about avoiding getting stuck in a 9 to 5 job when he was young, even though he was bleakly poor at times. He was quoted as saying, “I thought, ‘you’re just here once, life is brief and to have to spend every day of it doing what somebody else wants you to do is not the way to live it.’” That article is here: http://www.openculture.com/2017/02/cormac-mccarthy-explains-why-he-worked-hard-at-not-working-how-9-to-5-jobs-limit-your-creative-potential.html
The second article was about a letter Charles Bukowski wrote to his publisher in 1986 about how he chose to quit his full time job and write full time. That article includes the entire text of that letter, but these two paragraphs stand out:
And what hurts is the steadily diminishing humanity of those fighting to hold jobs they don’t want but fear the alternative worse. People simply empty out. They are bodies with fearful and obedient minds. The color leaves the eye. The voice becomes ugly. And the body. The hair. The fingernails. The shoes. Everything does.
As a young man I could not believe that people could give their lives over to those conditions. As an old man, I still can’t believe it. What do they do it for? Sex? TV? An automobile on monthly payments? Or children? Children who are just going to do the same things that they did?
That article is here: http://www.openculture.com/2014/07/charles-bukowski-rails-against-9-to-5-jobs.html
My current situation, with the mortgage, the kids, the bills, etc., demands that I bring in a certain amount of income, and I just can’t reach that income level from writing alone. So I do have to look for another job. But I find inspiration in the words of McCarthy and Bukowski, that there is another way, that I can change my situation and totally commit to my writing.
4 thoughts on “Working Life”
Having just completed your novel, purchased from Amazon, I have to say that this is a worthwhile compelling read.
In terms of your personal situation, it should be worth reflecting that paid work is by no means the definition of self. If indeed you’re not already aware of that. Having been in a very similar position you find yourself in a few years ago, I chose to employ it as an unprecedented opportunity. I had bills, a young family etc, so I still needed an income. I viewed work as exactly that. An income. This liberated me to pursue what I really wanted to accomplish and now some years later, I’m in a very contented position.
Given the nature of your novel, and the talent you exhibit for writing, if I found myself in a similar situation I’d be inclined to find an income that relieves your financial situation, but also leaves you free enough to write.
I’m intrigued by the themes presented in your book and look forward to any future work you do.
Thank you for reading The “Volunteer”. I’m still exploring all options, not all of which include another job in the same field.
I hope you find something suitable soon! As you said at least you have more time for your writing now. I am a firm believer in that everything happens fro a reason. Cliche I know, but it’s true! I’m heading over to Amazon now to check out your book. Thanks for the follow on Twitter and I’ll keep an eye out on any updates 🙂
Thanks Paige. I’m looking into several options now. If you do get The “Volunteer”, I hope you enjoy it.