What If Writing Was Like An Office Job

It’s that time of year again: the time when the media tell you to ditch your job and follow your passion. This year, they’re even throwing in the added bonus attraction of several impending apocalypses to get us up off our posteriors to change our lives.

What If Writing Was Like An Office Job

It’s tempting, but I’m not buying it. I know a lot of people hate their day jobs. There are many reasons for this, ranging from idiotic bosses, to boring work, to nasty colleagues, to that weird smell in the break room which started to worry you after you did that marathon horror movie marathon in November.

But regardless of how many articles I see (or even write) about the holy grail of full-time writing, I don’t think that anything will convince me that deriving a living solely from writing can match the comfort and general framework of mental well-being that even the world’s most boring day job can provide.

Picture the scene.

********************************

Monday morning, 9am. You arrive at your desk at Writing HQ and are greeted by John, the guy who sits next to you.

John: Morning.

You: Morning. Good weekend?

John: Not bad. I went out because it was payday. I know it happens every single month, but I still love it. You?

You: Yeah, it was good. Quiet.

John: Did you do any writing?

You: Good grief, no. I was off the clock. Unless it’s 9-5, Monday to Friday, I don’t even think about writing. I think I slept the whole weekend.

John: Greta was around earlier. She wants to see you in her office.

You: Ugh. She’s always on my case. When is she going to learn that being my agent doesn’t make her the boss of me?

John: When they stop paying you so much money?

[You both laugh]

5 minutes later, you sit in Greta’s office, clutching the coffee which is provided free of charge from the staff canteen. You brush the last crumbs of Peter’s birthday sponge cake off your lap.

You: You wanted to see me?

Greta: It’s your most recent work. I’m afraid it’s not selling enough.

You: I thought as much. It’s the guys in Marketing. The campaign they ran was woeful.

Greta: I hear you. They’re such a shower of eejits.

You: Remember John’s last book? They didn’t bother running a campaign at all. Which was a pity, because it could have been a prizewinner, for sure.

Greta: For sure.

You: But we’re still churning out the stuff. No matter how badly they foul it up.

Greta: Yeah. They were trying to blame us, but there’s no way we’re taking the fall on that one.

You: Even if what we’re writing turns out to be shite.

Greta: Especially then.

[You both laugh]

Greta: Seriously, though, while I’m happy to deflect the blame everywhere but here, I was a little concerned. Your last piece of work. It was – how can I say this? Uninspired.

You: Really? I thought it was just deathly boring.

Greta: Well, that too. But is there anything you need to tell us?

You: Yeah. I’ve literally got no new ideas. I’m afraid I’ve just been rewriting old stuff for months now. Haven’t a clue if I’ll ever have an original idea again, in fact.

Greta: We thought as much. Look, we think you should take some time off. Go and see the company doctor and stay at home for 3 weeks on full pay. Come back to us when you’re better.

You: Thanks, Greta.

Greta: Just write a few reviews for the papers in the meantime. Keep your name out there.

You: No problem. I’ll just recycle the ones I wrote for last year’s literary fiction titles. They’re vague enough to go around again.

***************************************************

For some, the idea of security isn’t all that attractive. But that’s all fine until you can’t pay the bills, and you’re still marketing all your own work, despite having a contract with a big publisher who is ploughing their entire budget into just 3 terminally best-selling authors, and you know that if you don’t sell enough books, the only person who will be blamed is you.

What If Writing Was Like An Office Job

The point I think I’m making (I’m never quite sure, so feel free to check in with me again later when I’ve probably changed my mind) is that nobody can be brilliant all of the time. Every human being is going to be mediocre at some point in their lives. And while non-creative jobs may not inspire much passion, they at least allow for things such as sickness, and bereavement, and poor marketing campaigns, and uninspired effort, and even failure.

I’d also rather try to find time alongside my bill-paying day job to write, than spend my writing time trying to find side jobs in order to pay the bills.

With that in mind, I’d like to buck the January trend, and raise my glass to boring, safe, uninspiring day jobs. Long may they inspire us to seek our creative outlets elsewhere.

What about you? Do you see day jobs as a cure or a curse?

  108 comments for “What If Writing Was Like An Office Job

  1. January 5, 2017 at 8:01 am

    I’m with you on this one! I like my day job (most days), and I love being able to write without stress, knowing that however bad my writing is and whether I sell anything or not I still get to eat and have a roof over my head.

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 5, 2017 at 9:36 am

      I love having a roof over my head too, A.S. Even the garrets of old had actual roofs. And being very, very thin is overrated. Catwalks are no places for self-respecting writers.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. January 5, 2017 at 8:46 am

    I work shifts and I love it – lots of time for writing. I also think the day job keeps me sane – if I wrote full time there would be nothing to pull me out of my imagination and anchor me in the real world.

    Liked by 2 people

    • January 5, 2017 at 9:38 am

      Also a great point, Katy. I don’t get too much of the real world in my day job either, but it’s an entirely different unreality, so swinging between that and the writing world at least reminds me I’m a human.

      Like

  3. January 5, 2017 at 9:57 am

    A very wise man told me that the relationship we have to work is not one of master/slave so if you really hate it, then look for something else. l’ve followed that advice for years plus my own mantra that the day I wake up and absolutely not want to go to work is the day to quit. There are very few people however who can keep body and soul together by what they make through writing ….

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 5, 2017 at 11:17 am

      He was very wise indeed! I wonder if he would have advocated abandoning the job we hate for a job that doesn’t pay? For my part, I believe if you hate your day job, find another day job. This particularly goes for so much officey type work. Job satisfaction is often 4 parts the office to 1 part the actual job.

      Like

  4. January 5, 2017 at 10:37 am

    Well I know two people who will be giving up their day jobs this year to concentrate on their writing careers. But since I started uni i cant seem to find any time for writing… when I get home from uni its dinner, chores and kids, and when they’re in bed, essays or study. How do you fit it all in? I took December off writing to ponder… none the wiser, sadly! However, having more time to write does not mean your writing will be better, or guarantee a publishing contract. It just means… um… well, more time to write. 😂😂😂

    Liked by 3 people

    • January 5, 2017 at 11:21 am

      It’s a truly awesome thing to decide to become a full-time writer and I have the utmost respect for your friends for doing so, Ali. I’m certain however that it wouldn’t suit me. I find that nothing fuels procrastination like being at home and nothing fuels productivity like a lack of time. I don’t wonder that you find yourself with no time to write at the moment. Being in college is a double claim on your time – the hours you spend in lectures and the triplicate hours outside that you’re supposed to have to do coursework and study. Don’t beat yourself up, because a day job is a hell of a lot easier!

      Liked by 1 person

      • January 5, 2017 at 11:49 am

        Lol! But I’ll just shrivel up and die if I don’t get these stories out of me! I too procrastinate like crazy when at home, so wouldn’t work for me either. Hope 2017 sees you published, Tara! 😙

        Liked by 1 person

        • January 5, 2017 at 12:16 pm

          There’s great things for both of us in 2017, Ali. They may not be what either of us expect, but I feel strangely good about it!

          Liked by 1 person

          • January 9, 2017 at 5:40 pm

            Oh great Swami, how about my future? What does 2017 hold for yours truly?

            Liked by 1 person

            • January 9, 2017 at 8:49 pm

              Good grief, Nick. Seeing as you asked, I just took a look. The newspaper headlines don’t surprise me, but what the hell is going on with the beeswax and the aardvarks?

              Liked by 1 person

              • January 10, 2017 at 8:41 am

                Oh, that. It’s really quite simple. Honeyguides, which feed on beeswax as you well know, lay their eggs in the roofs of aardvark holes. They then spend the rest of the day reading newspapers, doing yoga, and sipping tea-preferably honeyed-while waiting for their youngs to hatch. I’m surprised at your crystal ball’s knowledge of these things.

                Liked by 1 person

                • January 10, 2017 at 10:00 am

                  So am I. Not least that it seems to know about them, and yet refused to explain them to me. I’ll talk to you offline about the Russian oil deal it seemed very excited about.

                  Liked by 1 person

  5. January 5, 2017 at 10:48 am

    This makes so much sense. The idea of having to write by schedule, or even having to write well enough for somebody to pay me money as a reward for having done so, makes me nervous. I think I might dry up -what would you call a well that runs out of water when you toss coins into it, a wishless well? As for bereavement, there is nothing like it for wordlessness. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 5, 2017 at 11:22 am

      If I was being facetious, Liberty, I might say that such a well might be called a bank. Thank goodness I’m not like that. And yes, writing is a very unforgiving discipline for the realities of human life.

      Liked by 1 person

      • January 5, 2017 at 11:38 am

        Bank, house, car, things. As opposed to that which is important, the more of which you throw into, the greater they grow.

        Liked by 1 person

        • January 5, 2017 at 12:18 pm

          Well, I wouldn’t slag any of that list off entirely (except maybe the bank), but the priorities are certainly off in some cases!

          Like

  6. January 5, 2017 at 11:10 am

    At the moment, I rather doubt that I’d write if I was attempting to do so full time – something in my brain rebels against the seemingly ideal route. Nope. I have a job. I have to wrestle time from life to write, but I’m okay with that. It means I can have a car and, you know, wear clothes. And all that sort of thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 5, 2017 at 11:24 am

      I love all that sort of thing, Ness. I also particularly enjoy having electricity, internet, and the ability to go to bed each night without crushing guilt that I haven’t achieved enough – or anything – that day. There’s nothing like a job to facilitate being content with just getting by sometimes.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. January 5, 2017 at 11:46 am

    My day job is a necessary evil, and that won’t be changing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 5, 2017 at 12:18 pm

      I like necessary evils, in a way. It’s like having afternoon tea with an old enemy.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. January 5, 2017 at 1:23 pm

    I’ve been out of the day job loop ‘officially’ for about 5 years now (ill health meant taking early retirement), so writing is kind of my day job that I don’t get paid for.
    It’s hard to explain, but I think I’ve come to treat the actual writing part of writing as a pursuit, rather than a ‘hobby’ activity? As an indie writer,,for me, the day job is the mechanics of promo and marketing that I have to ‘make’ myself do, although the blog activity is getting more interesting to me now, as I’m treating that more as a fun activity with people who’ve become my online friends. So that’s more like after-work pub action… 😉
    Routine is important for everyone – which is why some retirees fail to adapt to their new status and find it hard to keep going for one reason or another. A routine that’s reliable, or gives security, also serves as a launchpad or gaining extra curricular experience in the ancient arts of wool-gathering and daydreaming. It also ‘gets you out of the house’ and into exciting negative experiences such as the commute from hell, or throws you in the way of the interesting arseho… erm, people that make life such a rich tapestry. Your daily graft regime is actually a means of gaining useful life experience and unstructured research into the human condition…
    ‘Work’ is mainly a matter of attitude – how you choose to define it, and whether it enthuses you or not, is largely up to you

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 5, 2017 at 4:55 pm

      It’s so true, Jan, that routine is important for everyone. I saw an interview once with Jeffrey Archer, and he gets up at 5 every morning to write. He treats it like a proper day job, and I can see how that works. Financial security doesn’t make creativity any easier.

      Like

  9. January 5, 2017 at 2:44 pm

    I’m with you on this. I often wonder if I sold enough books to be able to give up work, whether I’d actually quit the day job. There are days when I think yes, but mostly… no, I don’t think I would. I need the day job to pay for useful things like the rent and food etc. Also, I’d miss the interaction with my work colleagues. Not to mention the ‘office cake culture’ that is going to lead to a fatpocalypse soon. Mmmmm… cake.

    Besides, writing is what I do for fun. If I HAD to do it in order to live, it wouldn’t be much fun. It’d just be an additional source of stress.

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 5, 2017 at 4:58 pm

      Couldn’t agree more, Rhoda – I’m afraid I’d lose all the fun. I’d also dread having nothing to complain about but writing!

      Liked by 1 person

      • January 6, 2017 at 8:34 pm

        Or nothing to write about. I come across some weird things through work. All fodder for the story idea compost heap.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. January 5, 2017 at 3:56 pm

    I’ll be directing my writing students to this column, Tara. I’ve been writing since 1989. Sometimes I wrote comedy for half of my working hours, and taught for the other half. What I have learned: When you are writing a syndicated column, you are working to strict deadlines. Even comedy becomes work. And it is damn hard to write good comedy under pressure. I started to dread it.

    I still have publisher deadlines for my novels, but they are not weekly, bless their little hearts. And I don’t accept a contract that doesn’t excite me.

    Writing is my joy. I want it to stay that way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 5, 2017 at 5:01 pm

      You’re sending students over here, Melodie? Those poor souls. Did they do something really bad? Never mind, I’ll go easy on them, seeing as they’re yours.
      I’m interested to hear that about your syndicated column. I often daydream about writing such things, or TV sitcoms, etc. I’d better revise those fantasies to include crushing disappointment.

      Like

  11. January 5, 2017 at 4:10 pm

    I think that you have to find the balance that works for you. I have gone back to school and am now taking the time to write that I should have taken years ago. I realize that I may never make a living at writing, but it works along with my career change (the library), so it works for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 5, 2017 at 5:04 pm

      Balance is vital, that’s true, but it’s harder to find balance in some pursuits than others. Libraries and writing sound beautifully in tune to me!

      Liked by 1 person

      • January 5, 2017 at 5:08 pm

        It’s wonderful! It has taken a few years to get here, and I’m still looking for work, but I’m definitely happier.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. January 5, 2017 at 4:37 pm

    What a hilarious look at it! Day-jobs aren’t the worst thing in the world sometimes 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 5, 2017 at 5:05 pm

      Indeed they’re not, Amy. Although admittedly, it’s harder to remember that some days than others…

      Liked by 1 person

  13. January 5, 2017 at 5:08 pm

    A life outside writing is surely what provides the ideas and inspiration, as well as ideas for characters, for our writing. Stories don’t come from a keyboard, imagination needs fed. So you do what you have to do so that the writing can continue.

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 5, 2017 at 5:12 pm

      Exactly, Dorothy – and I find my imagination fuelled by the most mundane, silly things, which tend to happen quite a lot where I work.

      Like

  14. January 5, 2017 at 5:57 pm

    I’m another retiree who took up writing late in life. I was describing what I was doing to my sister who said “sounds like you have a job again.: My hat’s off to those of you who manage to write and hold down a full time job.

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 5, 2017 at 6:59 pm

      My hat’s off to anyone who commits to the writing slog after retirement, Mary, so it looks like both of us are to remain hatless for the foreseeable 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  15. January 5, 2017 at 7:35 pm

    You’ll be delighted to hear I may soon be able to live the life of a full time writer, free of financial aches and pains too. Thanks to an unknown dead relative in Hong Kong, an oil magnate who has left me $63 million dollars in an Asian bank I’ve never heard of, my days as a desk monkey may be coming to an end.

    I might allocate some time to helping charities and the needy, but it’ll be full on writing from the comfort of my Lamborghini.

    Liked by 2 people

    • January 5, 2017 at 9:12 pm

      Hi Chris, have I introduced myself? My name is Charity Needs. Delighted to make your acquaintance and I’m sorry to hear of the sad passing of your relative. I also have a dead relative, so we are obviously connected in a grand cosmic sense.

      On another note, I don’t recommend writing in Lamborghinis. It leads to terrible repetitive strain injuries.

      Like

      • January 5, 2017 at 10:11 pm

        Can’t say I’m sorry about the relative snuffing it. Best thing he ever did if you ask me. And talking of your charitable needs, we can kill two birds with one stone if I employ you to sit in the Lamborghini while I dictate to you from the comfort of my luxurious horse and trap.

        Liked by 1 person

  16. January 5, 2017 at 7:45 pm

    I used to teach History, which I described as a job I’d do for nothing and very nearly was. Dear Lord, did I love the heck out of that- it wasn’t working, full stop. But it also wasn’t paying, so…
    Now I have a terrific situation, working as an analyst where I stay home, collaborate with colleagues around the world (someone’s always in the office when it’s global), and have the freedom to push my time around as long as I meet my deadlines. I often don’t, because it’s not, well, teaching History and I’m frankly not great at it. But I can do well enough, often enough, to create little windows of space for myself. To write.
    I still missed teaching, so I cheated. And volunteered to guest lecture part time at the local school.
    So here’s to insurance with low co-pays, and a regular check that (pretty much) matches the bills, and always knowing there’s something you could be doing in any hour when you just can’t think of what happens next in the novel.

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 5, 2017 at 9:30 pm

      I love that you said “I can do well enough, often enough, to create little windows of space for myself”. I think that’s just perfect. That there is something in your life that allows you to be just enough, so that you can excel in other spaces. Isn’t that what it’s all about?
      You are very wise, but of course you knew that, Will. I’m not sure I would excel if I was judged on every working hour, which is in effect what writing becomes once you try to sell it, isn’t it?

      Liked by 1 person

      • January 5, 2017 at 10:27 pm

        :: slaps forehead :: Trying to SELL! I KNEW I forgot something…

        And if we’re going to get all serious, two things. 1) Wise? No YOU are, and raucous laughter is the proof. 2) The real support comes from my family, who put up with the sight of me constantly staring at a computer screen and occasionally tapping the keys, looking like the same idiot whether I’m working or writing. They’ve become totally used to calling my name, and then waiting three seconds, like a satellite delay, while I come mentally back from wherever I was. Without killing me in between.

        Liked by 1 person

        • January 5, 2017 at 11:15 pm

          I’m delighted your family isn’t killing you. It makes for great domestic harmony, I find. And thanks for the kind words. They reduce the violence in my household too.

          Like

  17. January 5, 2017 at 9:15 pm

    I actually enjoy my day job (plus, you know, having a house and cake)… but I LOVE my writing, and thus fill my evenings with it 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 5, 2017 at 9:31 pm

      Looks like you’ve got double happiness there, Al. Better keep that quiet. People have been set upon for less…

      Liked by 1 person

      • January 5, 2017 at 9:43 pm

        The day job is tough, and deeply unpleasant and unsettling… I think I’m safe on that score! Happiness is a very individual thing, I guess!

        Liked by 1 person

        • January 5, 2017 at 9:44 pm

          It’s all about optics really. As writers we are honour bound to project misery whether we’re happy or not…

          Liked by 1 person

          • January 5, 2017 at 10:04 pm

            Very true (he said, hiding his tub of cookie dough ice cream… would you believe me if I said it was grief ice cream?… that would be a lie, but it fits with “project misery”)…

            Liked by 1 person

  18. January 5, 2017 at 9:21 pm

    We will have to talk My Dear. I was out for a meal with Katia last night (we will be appearing on The Restaurant at some point in the future, being shown up for our ignorance and possibly flatulence too. You came up in conversation. I think you should start cooking so you can join our merry food band. This won’t solve any of our January employment woes, but, it will give you a new outlet and a new angle on which to write excellent blog articles.
    Happy new one to Mark too,
    Conor

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 5, 2017 at 9:34 pm

      No way! You’ll have to tell me when that episode is on, in case I miss it while I’m doing something fabulous, like sock shopping! That’s brilliant. Can’t wait to see it. The flatulence won’t bother me because I don’t have Smellovision anymore since Game of Thrones.

      I really should put more into my cookery, that’s true. Cookbooks seem to be the only books which haven’t suffered from the bonkers market changes in the past decade. And on that note…. Ahem. Happy new everything to you!

      Liked by 1 person

      • January 5, 2017 at 9:37 pm

        Less of your ahemming. I am cogitating.

        Liked by 1 person

        • January 5, 2017 at 9:41 pm

          I beg your pardon. I was taking a break from tut-tutting and lapsed into a chronic bout of ahemming. I’m working on a more Zen mmmmm-hmmming and expect results any dimension now.

          Liked by 1 person

  19. January 6, 2017 at 1:22 am

    Great illustration! I miss the day job but am excited to find out what happens next. Like I’m living my autobiography and writing it as I go along!

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 6, 2017 at 8:42 am

      A great way forward for the new year Linda. Sounds like you’re acing it.

      Like

  20. January 6, 2017 at 12:01 pm

    Oh, s**t! I hadn’t thought of all this stuff you’ve shared. I’ve already started the ball rolling on giving up the day job. Do you think I should go back on bended knee and say I’ve had a rethink?

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 6, 2017 at 1:27 pm

      Never ever go crawling back to anyone, Graeme. There’s nothing stopping you getting a new crew to bend the knee to though, should the need arise. With your new profile pic I’m sure you’ll be fending offers off with a tennis racket.

      Liked by 1 person

      • January 6, 2017 at 1:35 pm

        You’re very kind, Tara – but it depends what kind of job I want!

        I do have a plan, so I’ll take the risk and – if the worst comes to the worst – I’ll get a job at B&Q.

        Liked by 1 person

        • January 6, 2017 at 1:53 pm

          Don’t knock it. In this country at least they have the reputation for employing already skilled staff, and then not beating them even once.

          Liked by 1 person

  21. January 6, 2017 at 5:35 pm

    I did more writing, more regularly, while working full-time than since I retired… I think this is because now there is no excuse for not doing all the other things that need doing and they take more time than there are waking hours. (I know, prioritise you feeble git!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 6, 2017 at 6:42 pm

      Prioritising is over-rated, Hilary. It too often results in clean rooms. I sometimes picture people standing round my graveside gazing at the headstone which reads “Here lies Tara. Her house was always clean” and thinking “That’s ironic, because it’d kill her to see the state of her grave”…

      Like

      • January 6, 2017 at 8:36 pm

        I had in mind prioritising the writing – cleaning is quite low on my list – I guess the list is simply too long.

        Liked by 1 person

  22. January 6, 2017 at 6:23 pm

    I agree completely! My “pie in the sky” job would be that of a full-time TV critic but if I’m being honest I love having my writing as an outlet while I make money elsewhere.

    This was a great read Tara!

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 6, 2017 at 9:20 pm

      I think even full-time TV critics make their money elsewhere these days… but hey, it’s all for the good of the internet, right? And thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  23. January 6, 2017 at 7:53 pm

    It’s taken me four days to read this even though you only posted it yesterday because I snored so loudly I tore the space-time continuum – luckily near the seam so the invisible mending will work – and fell into Sunday. Christ how boring to write about boring. Did you stay awake when you wr.. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz Sorry, sorry. Didn’t mean to do that. Where was I? Sunday, yes, Sunday. Okay by Sunday I’ll have given up the no-day job and replaced it with every day is Saturday job, like a permanent filler which utterly craps up the writing time. I mean, imagine, you wake and… hmm coffee, then a paragraph or two. Or let’s have a banana – which takes you two hours as you ponder how long you peeled bananas the wrong way and only realised there was a right way when that ape got loose and ate Carey Mulligan because she was a clone of Mother Simian, an obscure religious figure in Ashby-de-la-zouch while peeling an orange – it was on the news at ten and they explained that, unlike bananas there isn’t a right way to peel oranges which meant lunch is now before breakfast and as the day seems to be rapidly ending given you’ve only been up two hours and haven’t even started coffee you go back to bed. So the danger of not having a day job is that, one way or another life is full of pith. Here endeth the lesson

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 6, 2017 at 9:26 pm

      I got confused there and thought you meant ‘a Saturday job’ rather than ‘every day is Saturday’ job. I’m too traumatised now by imagining you as a shelf-stacking paperboy barista to do anything other than say Mmmmm, banana…

      Liked by 1 person

  24. January 7, 2017 at 3:11 am

    Another option is to try for a job a creative company, which is what I do. I’m in a boring admin role, but still happy to be involved. It’s a Non for Profit, too, which even furthers my satisfaction because it means the culture of the company is never about making huge (or any) profit, it’s about other goals. The mission of the company I work for is to make the best art it can make, so I’m pretty happy to be a part of that, and then get my need for my own creative expression out by tinkering away at the computer keys at nights, weekends, and days off (after I’ve cleaned the bathroom).

    Sure the idea of not having to get up at 6.45 and commute to work seems idyllic but in reality I know I lack the drive and self-discipline to be a full-time writer.

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 7, 2017 at 1:12 pm

      It sounds great, Blatherer, as long as you don’t end up in one of those not-for-profits that starts behaving like a corporation. I worked for one of those once, and the administration office was nicknamed the Snakepit. I’m glad your place knows what it’s there for! Oh- and not to be a pain, but regarding your bathroom – I think you missed a bit…

      Liked by 1 person

  25. January 7, 2017 at 3:21 am

    I couldn’t do the day job, raise a family, and write, Tara. I know…what a whiney little princess that Peach woman. But I just couldn’t manage the stress. So I didn’t start writing until I was 50. I admire anyone that can keep all the balls juggling. I doubt I’ll ever support myself writing, but someday it would be nice to be able to pay for groceries. Keep the day job and keep writing, you’re off to a good start.

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 7, 2017 at 1:14 pm

      Not whiney at all, Diana. I couldn’t do that either. Whatever about the writing, I certainly couldn’t self-publish. I’ve come to the conclusion that I can write and work, or write and self-publish, but I can’t work and self-publish. You’re actually single-handedly running a business when you do that, which is harder than a day job.

      Liked by 1 person

      • January 7, 2017 at 4:09 pm

        The actual publishing part is easy, but the marketing is hugely time consuming, and they go together (or why publish). You’re young and have years ahead. It’s all good.

        Liked by 1 person

        • January 7, 2017 at 5:57 pm

          In my head, ‘self-publishing’ = marketing. That’s why it’s so daunting. I have huge admiration for anyone who does it, and frequently faint with awe for anyone who does it successfully 😉 But you’re right – all in good time!

          Liked by 1 person

  26. January 7, 2017 at 4:09 am

    What do actors say about drudge work between (low paying) gigs?

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 7, 2017 at 1:15 pm

      You mean apart from “mm…ommmnnnffmnnngggmmm”, because they’re eating for the first time in weeks?

      Like

  27. January 7, 2017 at 3:13 pm

    Reblogged this on Don Massenzio's Blog and commented:
    Do you treat writing like a job? Check out this post from the Tara Sparling Writes blog

    Liked by 1 person

  28. January 7, 2017 at 6:00 pm

    This is a subject I go back and forth over constantly! I’ve been working part time in retail for the past couple of years while studying film and wishing I was just pursuing my passion full time. But last Summer I worked nearly full time in retail and found myself enjoying the routine of it, and not having the stress that more creative jobs can bring. That being said, just the idea of being stuck in a 9-5 job for the rest of my life is painful to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 8, 2017 at 12:41 am

      I think it’s the idea of doing anything for the rest of our lives which is painful, Leanne. People very rarely stay working in the same industry now and even a change of scenery can mean a big life change, too. The full-time pursuit of a passion can very soon turn to drudge. I think the trick is to simply do what we’re doing today, and leave worrying about tomorrow for tomorrow. Sometimes a job we never thought we would do might actually make us happy!

      Liked by 1 person

  29. January 7, 2017 at 8:52 pm

    I don’t know Tara. It depends a lot on the job and I’ve had all kinds. Few of the positions that I’ve had I really liked. Most were stinkers that I dreaded going to, I’m sorry to say. Mind numbingly boring routines at companies that treat employees like cheap cattle that can be easily dispensed with at the first hint of having a brain. Or places where one’s fellow workers behave like cattle.

    I did have one that, while the workplace was awful (starting with their subscription to a music station that loudly played the same horrid “top 40” songs over and over again, day in and day out, week after week) later allowed me to work at home, which I did for five years, that I sort of enjoyed. That was until the company was acquired by another, which then promptly fired everyone. I could go on but I’ll spare you.

    One solution is to work for yourself, if possible; what I’ve been doing for the last 10 years or so.

    To really make writing work monetarily while not having to continually come up with new ideas you probably need to write a one hit wonder. But I suppose all authors hope for such. Short of that, well, I guess it depends on one’s desire and ability to live independently.

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 8, 2017 at 12:52 am

      I agree, it depends on the job, but it depends on the person too! I never found the idea of working for myself to be attractive. I grew up in a self-employed household and I associate it with stress and money worries. I’ve worked in shops and bars, factories and museums and numerous office jobs, and I like working for and with other people. If I don’t like the work or the people I work for, I move.

      I once had a job where I found myself standing outside the front door of the office on Monday mornings with my phone in my hand thinking ‘I could still ring in sick’. It taught me a valuable lesson. I will never again stay in a job where I feel like that, but most importantly, it makes me happy every time I’m in a job where I don’t feel like that. I know it might sound like aiming low, but then writing takes care of ambitions.

      Like

      • January 8, 2017 at 3:31 am

        Good comment. Not aiming low, enjoying your place of work is necessary. And I don’t mean to imply that I don’t like working with other people. I’ve had jobs that I did like, places with good people. In fact I prefer working with others when the situation is positive.

        I suppose though that I am more of a lone wolf than others, due to my upbringing, and that quality, I suspect, contributed greatly to my writing of the main character in O, Tom, who spends nearly a year by himself on a long trek down the length of prehistoric California.

        Liked by 1 person

        • January 8, 2017 at 11:46 am

          Don’t get me wrong – the emphasis was on working ‘for’ other people… believe me, there are days when I’d give anything to describe myself as a lone wolf!

          Like

          • Midmiocene
            January 8, 2017 at 5:05 pm

            Ah, got it. Working for oneself can be a trade-off, no doubt. Yet I find that, while definitely modest, I make more than I did on most jobs working for others. Plus I get to make my own days and hours.

            Liked by 1 person

  30. January 7, 2017 at 10:34 pm

    I think you live in my head Tara! I look at those who see writing a book as the holy grail of writing and I think, “They have to publicise their book…publicly.” when I’m not thinking that I’m thinking, “What if the publishers want another book? It’s taking years to finish just one”
    I got the Examiner gig, posting an article once a week and it is no joke. They want humour…ffs I’m not that funny and my life certainly isn’t. I’ve even made humour out of a memory pillow. However I must say I am enjoying the challenge, not the stress but definitely it is a challenge and when I finish and send one off I do feel chuffed. Unfortunately as you say, no one can be brilliant all the time and as I re read some of what i write I couldn’t agree more.
    You seem to be enjoying what you are doing. Perhaps if it’s not broken, don’t fix it? Although as I read your posts I do believe there is so much within you but i have no doubt whatsoever when the time is right a new path will open and you will be out there. Look out world (I’ll get a little schmaltzy here) because I do believe you are a rare talent. Good luck for 2017.

    Liked by 2 people

    • January 8, 2017 at 12:55 am

      I think you’ve finally done it, Tric. I think I might be………… lost for words. I’m sorry. It’s going to take me a while to process a compliment like that. When I pick myself up off the floor, maybe I’ll come back with something cynical.

      …..

      …………..

      ….

      Nope. I got nothing. A big cheesy grin, is all. And respect for your entertaining column. That’s all I got. 😀 😀 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  31. Sue Bridgwater
    January 9, 2017 at 3:20 pm

    Reblogged this on Skorn.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. January 10, 2017 at 10:49 am

    I have a day job that I love wholly, but it sucks up so much time, and even worse my brain power, so that writing is virtually impossible. So I’m retraining in massage therapy to maybe, just maybe, one day have a day job I enjoy just as much, which doesn’t drain me dry. I think that’s the balance I can hope for. But it requires patience…

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 10, 2017 at 4:40 pm

      Every job vies for our whole attention, Danielle, doesn’t it? I know what you mean. I find my day job uses a different part of my brain so it’s nice to let it out for a walk through writing. It’s not a perfect balance, but I tell myself it is 😉

      Like

  33. January 11, 2017 at 2:36 am

    absolutely true… I don’t hate my day job and I love to write at the end of the day but seeing it as a full time job will be difficult even though many says its possible but surely not as a desk job, i would loath it. I can not imagine generating ideas one after another and that all of them be brilliant. haha that’s a dream come true. Sharing this beauty, thanks 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 11, 2017 at 2:21 pm

      Depends on the desk job, Hemangini. Not all desk jobs are alike, just as not all writing practices are alike. I suppose only journalists and bloggers need to keep generating ideas at that rate – shame only one of those groups tend to get paid (and badly at that!)

      Like

      • January 13, 2017 at 7:01 am

        True that, all jobs are different and has different roles… Creative people need to be paid more for sure.

        Liked by 1 person

  34. kgupta21
    January 13, 2017 at 8:55 am

    Very droll and nice sketch too with bulbhead !Good read.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. January 16, 2017 at 12:23 pm

    I can never imagine you being mediocre Tara. Ever. You will not stop me dreaming of leaving my boring desk job though!

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 16, 2017 at 12:38 pm

      Oh, I can be mediocre. You should see what I do to a steak. I’ve written several terrible short stories. And I’m frequently less than stellar when it comes to physical activity. I compensate by taking pride in my mediocrity. I do that very well.

      Liked by 1 person

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