I’ve mentioned before that I’ve worked in at least 25 jobs since I first entered the paying workforce in 1988. The irony is that, well, without being too arrogant about it, I was pretty damn good at nearly all of them. (Except for the clerkship at a multinational insurance company. “Insurance verification” sounds like a pretty simple job until you realize that it involves being on the phone 8 hours a day, asking total strangers the kind of health-related questions I hesitate to ask my own mother. I cried every time I drove to work until my 3rd morning, when I called from my car and quit over the phone. One of the best mornings ever.)
Still, writing has always been my passion, the only thing I’m really, truly good at. The one vocation for which I think I was born.
If you’re like me or the millions of other aspiring writers around the world, however, you’re not able to make a full-time living out of mere words alone. I hustle a lot. Over the past year alone, I’ve done advertorials for local small businesses, written copy for just-launched online businesses, and even worked full-time (for a short while) at the local library. I’m also doing public relations/fundraising for a local nonprofit and am talking with an author-friend about doing some transcription work for him for a future book. (I’m a seriously fast typist.) I’ve made a very small amount of advertising money from my two blogs. And yeah, I’m still always on the lookout for other ways to supplement my meagre income. It can sometimes be frustrating, as I’d love to just be able to focus on my book and nothing else. But on the other hand, as someone who’s been working since I was sixteen, I derive a great deal of pleasure in being able to pull in some kind of income, even if it is a fraction of what I know I could make in the cubicle world. And hey, even all this hustling sure beats having to report to a supervisor or being stuck in that aforementioned cubicle for hours on end. At least in my new world, I can work from home whenever I want, whether it’s at 2 in the afternoon or 2 in the morning. And all that money goes to me (and the IRS) and no one else.
What about you? What other side jobs do you hold in addition to your writing activities? Do you have a full-time job, or do you hold a host of part-time gigs to keep body and soul together? How do you unleash your creative soul without starving to death?