I started writing a blog post and I realized I had a whole other thing on my mind, so I needed to write about that.
I’ve been following the Self Publishing Podcast for a while now. Long enough to watch Garrett go from fan, to writer with a day job, to full time writer, to writing full time and making a full living. It’s been an interesting thing to see. And Garrett is my friend, so I might be privy to things that aren’t necessarily on the podcasts we do.
What’s more, he isn’t the only author I’ve watched go through this transition. It’s a long hard road to go through. I’m hoping that I’ll start down that road myself soon.
At the moment my day job doesn’t interfere with my writing. I write mostly at night, and jot down a few notes every day at work. It works well. Part of me is actually afraid that if I quit my job I will lose my momentum to write.
Today was my day off. You’d think on a day off I could write more. But instead I played games, watched some youtube, and created some more resin charms. I did my hobbies, in other words, instead of what I am increasingly seeing as my “job”. Not working at the storage place, but rather writing my novels.
Many of us have this idea that if we could just do our hobby for a living we would always love our job and it wouldn’t be work. Maybe for some people that’s true, but there is also a great deal of work to go into it. And if you are self publishing, or creating your own store, then you have even more work. Marketing, packaging, analyzing, distribution.. you name it. It’s work.
It doesn’t make it less rewarding. Writing a novel is infinity easier on my body than digging a ditch, or power washing a gas station parking lot (both things I’ve done.) But writing a novel can be tough. Sometimes it’s emotionally draining to write emotional scenes. Some days you just want to give up when the words don’t come. Sometimes you’re frustrated because it seems like your words are falling on deaf ears. Maybe it doesn’t hurt you physically, but it can break you emotionally.
When writing started to become my career path instead of just a hobby I started taking up other hobbies to replace it. Crafting, gaming on twitch, reading more. Things I’ve always enjoyed, but things that require less brain power to accomplish. Sometimes you just need a break.
making your hobby into your career isn’t a magic button. It does not make you instantly happy, though I bet it’s an amazing feeling to tell your boss you quit (something I won’t be doing for another year or three.) It’s probably wonderful to be free of corporate pressures to produce, sell, achieve. But you’re replacing it with your own pressure to produce, sell, and achieve.
The real difference, the thing I want more then anything, is that instead of working for some nameless corporation that doesn’t give two nickels about you personally, for a job you aren’t even sure will be there next year or next week, you are working for yourself. When things get bad you have no one to blame but you. When you don’t work no one will complain but you (and maybe your readers.)
Making your hobby into a job is still a job. But it’s your job. Your business. You control it. If that sounds great then go for it. Otherwise… maybe don’t quit your day job.