I've heard many writers say they can't wait to quit their day job and write full-time. But what if you like your day job? What if the benefits of keeping your day job outweigh that desire to stay home and write?
That's where I was in 1992 when I joined RWA.
I wanted to write. However, I had full medical coverage and was within ten years of accessing a nice retirement fund with my day job. In addition, I loved the graphic design work I was doing, which later expanded to include Web sites. I also wrote, edited and produced newsletters, helped with event planning, put together presentations -- many things I enjoyed doing.
Fortunately, I couldn't afford to quit my day job and write full time. That worked out to be a very good thing. (And I'm not just talking about the passion I share with many other writers who could spend hours in an office supply store picking out paper clips, binders and a dozen different kinds of paper!)
My day job allowed me to "retire" at age 49 with benefits that let me work part-time, write part-time and pay the bills without starving. In addition, I was fully trained (at no expense to me) as a Web and graphic designer, which allowed me to set up my own business making nice money doing this for others, and I don't have to pay someone else to design my writing Web site, covers and promo materials.
Other day jobs have helped tremendously with the business side of writing:
-- As a secretary, I learned filing, organizing, and typing very quickly, just to name a few.
-- As an office manager, I learned "people" skills; striking a balance between bosses who want everything right now and employees who are already overloaded with work. I also learned how to justify the expense of additional people and equipment; how to look at all sides of an idea and package it; how to stretch budget dollars (at home too!); how to manage multiple jobs with looming deadlines. (Think I'd better dust off some of those skills and make them work harder for me!)
Also, I still have connections with former colleagues who are delighted that I will have books coming out and want to buy copies.
What about you? If you could quit your day job and write full-time, would you? How about you stay-at-home moms? (No, I'm not talking about selling the kids to write full-time!) When your kids are grown, do you plan to write full-time or will something else fill part of your hours?