What should a writer do for a day job?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tanya Paperny from Lit Drift writes about one of my great obsessions: how a day job affects writing. Is it better to have a job that involves creative writing, or should you do something unrelated so you don't drain your creative resources?

I'm rationalizing now because I've decided I'm going to be happy with my IT job for a while, but I'm partial to the idea that you should do something unrelated. That way, when you do get a chance to sit down and write, it feels like a reward, something you've been prevented from doing all day so you can't wait to get at it. Otherwise, if you're writing ad copy or grading freshman comp essays all day, the last thing you want to do is wrestle with more words.

Actually, I think a writer's ideal day job would be something that doesn't involve sitting at a computer all day, either something physical or where you interact with people face-to-face. That has two advantages: 1) you're not tired of staring at a screen, and 2) you have more time to walk around and think about your writing. But that's just a theory. I'm not quite ready to go back to my old summer job washing cars to test it out.