As many of you may know, the next ACFW Webniar is, How to Write More and Work Less. I’ve been talking with writers who have another job as well as their writing to see how they juggle doing both. I was a social worker before my daughter was born and started writing soon after, but now that my youngest is off to college I’ve thought about getting back into the work force. I just don’t know how I’d balance the two yet.
The first thing I thought of was that I’d have to do some serious time management to get everything done that I do now plus working. Getting my family used to the idea that I wouldn’t be as available would be the biggest undertaking, and having others do some of the tasks that I’ve always done. In having less time for writing I’d be spending less time with my imaginary friends, meaning my characters of course (If I were writing this to anyone other than fellow authors I’d worry they would question my sanity) along with a number of activities and groups I belong to. I suppose it’s all about prioritizing.
I did a little research about authors who didn’t give up their day jobs, or at least not right away after they were published. Some of these might surprise you.
-Michael Blake, author of Dances with Wolves, had just been fired from his job as a dishwasher in a Chinese restaurant when Kevin Costner called him to ask if he would be interested in writing a screen play of his book.
-Steven King was a high school history teacher and used to write in the furnace room closet of his trailer.
-Both C.S. Lewis and Tolkien served in WWI and then taught at Universities
-John Grisham was a lawyer and member of the State Legislature of Mississippi
-Jack London was an oyster pirate and then a gold prospector.
-Nicolas Sparks applied at Law school but was not accepted, so he tried doing real estate appraisals, waiting tables, selling dental products and starting a manufacturing business
-J.K. Rowling got her postgraduate degree and taught in Scotland. She had a baby and then was divorced. She completed her first novel while on welfare
-Francine Rivers wrote obituaries for the town paper
-Zane Gray was finally published after many years of rejections and quit his job as a dentist to write full time.
-William Faulkner was a post master
This group of writers is a tough comparison, but were the most interesting. I know many writers on this blog manage doing both very well, so help me out with some ideas…how do you create the necessary balance working two jobs?