You Job? What would you do?

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OneFish
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You Job? What would you do?

Post by OneFish » April 27th, 2012, 8:17 am

Hello everyone,
I'm de-lurking to ask a silly question that I hope won't come across as too desperate. It's seems a bit silly to post this in a writing section maybe, but you all seem to be nice ;)
I'm a female in my early 30's. I have professional degrees to my names (and to my severe debt). But there has been life upheaval for the last 3-4 years when my health ran into trouble and I've been kind of in a limbo land. Setting that aside, my work has been inconsistent or nonexistent and now I'm gearing up for what my future holds as my health situation creeps up a bit.
The obvious thing would be to go back to the work that I've got years of schooling for and that I've spent $$$ on (enough to keep in debt till my grave). The problem is that I don't enjoy that work (and that is putting it nicely). I never did enjoy it. I completed the schooling for it because I had "started" and god forbid I actually not finish something or waste the already invested money put into it.
So, now I'm wondering what I can do. Truthfully, I'd probably be happy getting a job at a bookstore chain and working there whilst writing on the side. But I know that will not support me to live, eat, and make my "minimum" payments for debt each month. I've considered (with just the motivation of at least considering anyway) possibly putting 3000-5000 maximum into a course (I guess 6-12 month?) in order to get another trade that can give me at least a bit more (not as much as my professional degree, but at least perhaps sanity)...
The trouble is that I don't know what ! Yes, that sounds pathetic. This should be a personal thing. But the only real passion I have is reading and writing. I would ideally like to work from home (with perhaps some outside work thrown in). I need security and need to be realistic...but I also don't want to be crying in a 9-5 cubicle job either. So I'm very unsure. Other things I enjoy immensely are freelance writing, nutrition and wellness (I've considered a nutritional certification or health coaching program that are legitimate programs...and they would hold interest for me certainly since I have strong interest in nutrition education, school and hospital nutrition advocacy....BUT I'm concerned about the actual money I would get from it since a lot of the result is due to marketing yourself and building yourself , etc...possible , but I wonder if realistic for someone like me who needs to meet responsible adult dutites like surviving and making the payments on time, etc).
Business? what...I have no idea. None.
To add to the confusion of this, I'm not exactly a social media lover (in fact, I don't do facebook, twitter, nothing). I have interest in it and have numerous ideas of the value in using it, BUT I'm also just a laid back person, someone who prefers to de-clutter her brain and life of unnecessary things and incoming messages, someone is private and kind of shy and keep to myself. So...

What is your day job? What would be your choice if you coud do-over? What would you do in my situation? How would you seek to balance the writing/job , so that the writing life does not become side-tracked and slowly fade at a time when you'd rather be focusing on it intently ?

I know this question doesn't really "belong" here and is likely confusing and desperate. But I'm in a sore spot now where everything is one big ball of anxiety and confusion.

(By the way, I'd LOVE to take writing courses...or go back to actual university for these things or something legittimate, but I can't afford to spend money on university -again- or on writing couses that are known to not take you into an actual job...that is the clincher: I actually NEED to find a job out of this.)

P.S> I live in Canada and online learning would be the best for me (if it matters). I think most people here are U.S? Not sure if uniquely Canadian forums exist anywhere

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Hillsy
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Re: You Job? What would you do?

Post by Hillsy » April 27th, 2012, 9:04 am

Right. Some things......

Don't be seduced by TV, or if you happen to have a particularly fortunate grounp of friends. Most people dislike their jobs and would do anything else. That is why there is a distinction between jobs and hobbies and the words haven't been combined together into hobs or jobbies (both of which have strange additional connotations). Capitalist theory: If you like something you'll pay to do it. If something *needs* to be done, it's because you can't, don't want to do it and you pay someone who's willing to.

Right, so once you've disabused yourself of that notion, now place your writing in your order of importance in your life. Got it? Cool, then the next advice will be easier to digest. Patrick Rothfuss says: You wanna write seriously, learn to live cheap. Yup, that means a lot of things go bye bye, unless you can work round them somehow (I'm thinking renting cheap off a friend, getting a job where you get a free canteen or company car, etc)....And once you've done that....

Aim Low. Brandon Sanderson worked the graveyard shift at a hotel desk. it meant he didn't have to do much and consequently wrote a dozen novels at work. I'm a data analyst, I'm also approx. 623% better at spreadsheets and databases than anyone else. Therefore, it takes me a day to do what takes them a week. I do not tell them this. I get 5 hours a day to myself. I also have to accept a pretty waft salary as recompense, but I've written 2 BIG novels and started another 4. I don't know what your degree is in, but find something you can do faster and better than a lot of people, then pretend it takes you the same amount of time. Your engagement with something you don't like doing is greatly reduced, you opportunity to write is greatly improved.

If you can't pinpoint directly a revenue stream with which you have both interest, ability and good financial prospects, then seriously consider giving up on working towards a job you enjoy and directing it towards a job that leaves as little impression upon you as possible, both in time and mental strain.

And - completely anecdotally as I've got absolutely no hard proof of this - People who enjoy their jobs tend to end up loving what they do, not doing what they love.

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polymath
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Re: You Job? What would you do?

Post by polymath » April 27th, 2012, 12:34 pm

THe first best universal advice for all writers is Do not quit your day job. The likelihood any writer will make a full-time living from writing for publication is low percentiles.

Do not lose hope. though. Begin the journey with baby steps. Write in a chosen genre--fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, New Journalism, poetry, scriptwriting, or criticism--for and submit to local publications, submit to wider-area publications, self-publish online, apply for fellowships, grants, and honorariums. A credit or two under the belt and the satisfaction of recognition make up for a heap of cubicle heartache. Hardship is so much more tolerable when there's worthwhile goals and happy outcomes to work toward and anticipate.

Since you like to read, join the conversation. Write reviews and submit, literary and promotional. I've studied deeply the careers of writers as they unfolded and after and before the fact. One standout phenomema of note is how writers enhance their marketability through mutual promotion. Unfortunately, the way interpersonal relationships are going today, what with technology's escalating emotionally distancing effects, the art of mutual promotion is a fading practice. Fortunately, though, since mutual promotion isn't among many writers' marketing practices anymore, it's a wide open field again. One no-no for mutual promotion. Do not disparage any writer. It's easy to find fault and assign blame. It's the mark of a respectable sapien to find virtue and act virtuously. Besides, close scrutiny of writing virtues will enhance your writing. Rise above the fray. It's your reputation as a noble human being at stake.

Another baby step: Budget time to intern for a publication, no matter how minor, even for the local gym, church, crisis center's publications, the dread workplace even. Get close to the flame. But not so close you get burned.

I'm a reader, struggling writer, intern, publisher, editor, and critic. and reading and writing mentor, tutor, and instructor, with a mountain of college debt and burdensome medical costs. I manage somehow to meet ends with my several assorted vocations and expect to do incrementally better near and long term.
Spread the love of written word.

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