Your day job might bore you to death.
You might be working only for a paycheck while you patiently wait for your writing career to take off.
And at times you may consider quitting your full-time job so you can write books for the rest of your life in the mountains.
I’m not going to stop you from quitting, because I did exactly that. I quit my job to focus on being an author and internet-entrepreneur.
But before you make a big decision, consider the advantages of writing with a day job. You may be surprised.
1. Needed income source
There’s a reason you got that day job in the first place—you need the money! Whether it supports just you, your spouse, or your family, a steady flow of income is needed to pay rent and maintain a decent standard of living.
It’s likely that your job also contributes to medical insurance, dental insurance, a 401k retirement plan, paid vacation, or other perks that don’t come from being self-employed.
2. Less pressure
Being a full-time writer means you’re putting all the chips on the table and betting on yourself. It’s an exciting ride for sure. But don’t forget about the pressure to perform.
Those who write for a living, especially in the beginning, can face the unwelcome stress of not knowing when and where money is going to come from. What if the book flops? How many books are going to sell next month?
Unknown questions like this can make the reality of the starving artist real for many people. And these financial anxieties can disrupt the writing process and take the fun out of it.
But when you have a day job and don’t have to worry about money, your mind is free to focus completely on writing. A healthy relationship with writing is underrated and is key to becoming a good writer.
3. More urgency to write
Full-time authors know that if they aren’t productive in the morning, they have a cushion to be productive in the afternoon or at night. While this is convenient, it takes away the urgency to write under a deadline.
With a day job you can’t afford to fool around and that’s a big advantage. When you cut out a small slot in your day to write, you’re forced to focus and get your writing done. If you don’t, you know you’ll have the sober feeling of going an entire day and getting no closer to your goals.
The urgency to write after waking up early, during a lunch break, or late at night is a powerful and motivating force that influences people with day jobs and skips over full-time authors. This urgency is helpful when learning how to write a book.
4. Available social outlet
Almost every regular job involves social interaction with other employees, managers, or clients. Sometimes they even involve fun work trips, happy hours, or office parties.
And this is beneficial because, regardless if you’re an extrovert or introvert, humans need to be in community and around other people to thrive.
So appreciate your work environment because full-time writers spend a lot of time alone. As you already know, writing is not a team activity.
I’ll be honest. Since switching over to 100% author and entrepreneur work, more than 80% of my day on an average work week is spent alone working on my laptop. I see people at dinner and at the gym, but that’s virtually it.
Lucky for me, I’m individualistic and self-motivated so this isn’t a big issue. But I do miss the social interaction during my sales job out of college.
5. New writing ideas
Interacting with other people, seeing different things, and hearing new ideas are common at your day job.
Your boss is going to tell you a story from the weekend. Your coworker is going to complain about his fight with his significant other. And you’ll see a guy making a scene over losing a parking spot.
These little moments often translate into material that you can take home with you and type out in your writing.
A conversation or experience at work can be the inspiration for your next blog post or a new book.
6. Stay grounded and relatable
The best writers are able to share common human experiences and emotions in their writing to connect with their audience. Whether it’s a funny joke, tragic scene, or ironic situation, if you can’t relate with your audience then you’ve lost them from the start.
And it’s definitely possible for authors to spend too much time writing and in their own head to the point where they struggle to connect with their audience.
But being able to relate well to others is not only an important writing skill, it’s also a strong social skill. A writer who loses touch with reality is going to struggle in both of those arenas. However, a writer with a day job won’t have to worry about this.
If you write consistently and stick with the other habits of successful writers, I’m positive that you can eventually leave your day job and become a full-time author.
You may even become one of the famous self published authors who make millions a year.
Until then, stick with your day job and all of its advantages. Remember the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Like Big Sean says (in Bieber’s song “As Long As You Love Me”), “It’s greener where you water it.”
How do you navigate writing with a day job? If you write for a living, what do you miss about a day job?