To avoid becoming a real-life starving artist cliche, a lot of aspiring writers often get to a point where they have to make headway in a full-time career – any career – to make ends meet as they continue building up writing experience. This is nothing new and nothing to be ashamed of. Sometimes, you gotta do what you gotta do.
Unfortunately, every aspiring writer, understandably, hopes and prays to find a job that will help them develop their writing and editing skills. Every single one. So your chances of even getting a job in publishing or journalism or anything related are slim.
It has nothing to do with you as a person or how good of a writer you are. Actually, you’re probably a great writer. But so are a lot of other people looking for the same kinds of jobs you are.
There are a lot of jobs out there that you’re probably already qualified for. Being able to communicate, meet deadlines and stay organized are essential skills most aspiring writers have mastered even before they begin their job search as college graduates. This might mean you’ll end up working for a company who’s happy to have you – and you’re happy to help out – even if that particular industry isn’t ideally where you want to be.
But if you’re working somewhere you’re not spending every moment of every work day writing, are you still a writer?
What if you get caught up in a job you’ve fallen in love with, and all of a sudden realize you’re not spending as much time writing when you’re not at work?
This does happen, and it’s the fear that throws a lot of aspiring writers off course even before it becomes a problem. We’re stubborn. We don’t want to settle into anything other than our dream career. Yet we’re broke. We need to make a living still doing something we enjoy.
Just because you’re working in a different industry than you want to be doesn’t mean you’ll hate your job or never get to do what you love ever again. And it certainly doesn’t mean you’re not a writer.
It takes time to adjust to a new routine. If you’re frustrated because you’ve just started a new job or have just taken on more responsibility at your same job and haven’t had time to write lately like normal – relax. Figuring out how to fit writing into everyday life when you have a full schedule doesn’t happen in a day. Just because you’ve stopped writing for the time being, while you’re adjusting to something new, doesn’t mean you’ll never go back to it.
You’re still using your skills, whatever you’re doing. The skills you use at the office are the same ones you use to write, whether you realize it or not. You don’t have to spend every moment of every day writing to call yourself a writer. Also remember that the best writers have life experience. Some of your best story ideas will come to you while working at your current job.
You are a writer because you are a creative, passionate, story-loving person. We all need breaks and we all have to make sacrifices. Keep your dream alive, and enjoy what you’re doing. If you love to write, you will eventually find time to do it no matter how busy you are.
To learn more about how to stand out in the publishing world, no matter what stage of building a writing career you’re in, check out our LET’S GET PUBLISHED! series, which we’ll start back up again in January.
Image courtesy of Novelty Revisions.