Thursday, January 21, 2016

Rocking the Day Job

By Cathy Perkins

Waving from warm, sunny Orlando today. Quite a change from last month’s endless snow.

photo by Cathy PerkinsI wish I could say I’m on vacation. Instead, I’m rocking the day job, teaching at my firm’s management school and taking a (shh! really boring) mandatory class, made bearable by my peers (who also have to take it).

This week made me think about careers and balancing. I know authors who have ditched their day job to write full time. Many others are like me—working full time at a job that pays the bills and offers health insurance. Since it’s the season to count your blessings and make plans for the new year, I’ll start with gratitude I have an interesting job that sends me money twice a month. J

Layer in writing, volunteers gigs, and the rest of my life, however, and it’s a lot of balls to keep in the air. Over the past few weeks, I’ve read a number of blog posts talking about time management and work/life balance. While I try to implement some of the tips, consistently, the best advice I’ve received is "write every day." Even if it’s only a line or two, put those words on the page first thing in the morning. Otherwise, the day’s demands can catch up (and overwhelm) leaving you exhausted at the end of the day.  Creative energy? What's that? As much as I hate to admit it, I find if I get out of the “habit” of writing, days or weeks can slide past.


photo by Cathy Perkins
What about you? Are you rocking the day job? Writing full time? Balancing other commitments? 

What’s your best advice for maintaining balance or finding time to write?


Oh. And the deer came over to welcome me home to the snow.  

11 comments:

  1. I'm a full-time freelance writer/editor, Cathy, but lately, the various editing--developmental ms. editing and various jobs for university presses--and teaching have ballooned (need to pay med bills!) and taken over much of the writing, especially of novels. Thanks for the reminder! First thing in the day, write on the novel, and then tend to all the rest. Better to work late when tired on that stuff than try to do it on my novel.

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    1. Exactly! I can handle the volunteer commitments, email and all that in the evening but the creative energy is generally "spent" by then.

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  2. It seems like everyone gets overwhelmed and needs to reset over the New Year. It's nice that you had a break from the winter weather. I think that daily habit has to be a joy or an escape or it takes too much energy when we're already tired. This year I'm starting off trying to get my little bit done first thing so I've at least accomplished that little goal, no matter how small. Hope you find that joyful creative minute in your day and good luck with all the balls in 2016.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Livia. Sometimes I think we forget that we need a "vacation" from a creative job - time to refill the well

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  3. Great post! I work a full-time job and also write. I try and write every day, but usually end up doing most of my writing on the weekend, along with shopping, laundry, church, etc. etc.! I'm striving to be more organized so that I make sure I write every day! Luckily, my husband does help out a lot around the house and my kids are gone, so I don't have that to worry about.

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    1. I hear you! I was better organized when the kids were younger and I had to juggle all their activities too. (Maybe there's something to that saying: have your kids when you're younger - you have more energy!)

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  4. Like you I have a day job only in my case it has a shift rotation that has my earliest day starting at 545 in the morning and the latest one starting at 1100 in the evening and going through the night.

    My son is grown so The hands on parenting is done although I don't think w ever stop worrying about them and wanting the best for them. I'm like you, if I don't commit to writing at least a paragraph a day, weeks and months can go by😒

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    1. My hat's off to anybody who works a swing shift!! I'd never get used to the changing schedule and I've never been able to sleep during the day. Hopefully you have a few transition days where you can re-orient!

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  5. Since I don't have the knack of writing nearly often enough--even though my day job is six years back in the rearview mirror--I am hardly the one to give advice. However, I do have one tip. When I drove to work, I carried a tiny voice activated recorder and whipped it out when I had a plot idea. Then once a week I would type up all the ideas I had and put them in a notebook. I also was able to write sometimes while at work...which was a great blessing. I purposely took a job that made me "underemployed" so that I would have more oomph left over with which to write. It worked. But I hate to tell you this....When you quit the day job, other things raise their hands and say DO ME, NO ME, NO CHOOSE ME. It is ALWAYS a struggle to put writing first. You are also going to be slower when the time comes to stop the day job. So, in short, just keep on keeping on. We can do this! We can.

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    1. You're so write - there is always going to be something pulling at us!

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    2. Seriously, the write/right thing was an accident

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