First thing first, full disclosure, I have a full time job and my writing is a side-job. I bring home the same amount of money writing (part time) as I do from my full time job though, so I tend to mention the writing first. The fact is, writing is a lot more fun and interesting than working in IT for a bank. J
When talking to people at a party, the guy who cuts your hair or just about anyone you meet, the conversation will quickly turn to one of the most commonly asked questions. “So, what do you do for a living?” Or some variation of that. For most people, this is a simple conversation starter, but when a freelance writer, or someone who makes money blogging is asked, it is often the source of confusion. People often don’t understand how someone could make a living as a writer.
It’s difficult enough trying to explain to strangers or people you’re just meeting how and why you work as a writer, but it’s even worse when it is your family. I spend hours in my office at home writing articles, trying to find clients and generally working on my writing business. While doing it, the kids run in to ask for a snack, or to say hi, or to ask what I’m doing. My wife will call in to ask me to change the laundry or help out in some other way. Then there is extended family who undoubtedly wonder why I’m on the computer so much, and why I missed the last family event (I can imagine that my wife telling them that I had a big order due tomorrow sounded like an excuse for marriage problems, lol).
So, if I run into these types of things when I have an actual full time job, and just write on the side, I can only imagine how much worse it is for full time writers! I’ve decided to write this article not just to share some of my thoughts on the matter, but also to ask for your stories & input. Please, share your thoughts in the comments below!
Dealing with Strangers
When people I’m just meeting ask me, I actually enjoy trying to explain it. Many people genuinely intrigued, and never knew that it was possible to actually make money online. They assume all the internet money making ideas are just schemes (not that I blame them). When they hear that I also have a regular job, I can tell that they think that my writing is just a hobby. Oh well, I’m not worried about it. It is fun to talk about though.
Dealing with Family
My wife has been extremely supportive, and generally doesn’t mind when I spend the occasional late night working on a last minute order. She has helped me to balance work with family, and she’s always more than happy to help find a way to spend the money made through writing. (We both love vacations though, so it works out). The one thing I think she doesn’t realize is that every time she, or the kids, walk in, I lose my train of thought. It takes me a minute or two to get back into the writing, at which time someone decides to pop back in.
Overall, I’m very lucky to have a family that is as supportive as they are. My kids have started saying things like, “Daddy, can you go write articles so we can go to Michigan’s Adventure?” (a nearby amusement park). Or, “Daddy, how many articles would it take for us to go to chuck-e-cheeses and how long would we have to leave you alone.” It is quite cute!
I’ve been doing this for about three years now though, and it wasn’t always as easy. Trying to find the time to get all my writing done, without neglecting the family or my regular job can be difficult. It is well worth it, however, and I hope to continue doing it long into the future.
What about you? How do you explain how you make a living as a writer? I’d love to hear other ‘war-stories’.