Get you a job that can do both

Step 0 to starting a sustainable writing career is to get a day job that you at least don’t mind. I understand that it’s not what you want to be doing. What you want to do is write and make enough on a debut novel to never have to work in a stuffy 9-5 again. I get it. If you have a job just to pay the bills, why spend the time and energy getting one you like?

But I urge you to not let yourself be pulled into a toxic environment. It will affect your writing. For a year of my life, I worked as a secretary, a position that forced me to interact with strangers for eight hours a day. Since I am as introverted as they come, this was a nightmare.

The marketing aspects of the job that had made me take it in the first place were dangled like carrots to make me stay, then flung away. Instead, I dealt with vendors calling me “sweetie” and “young lady.” My worth as an employee seemed to hinge on how full of soda I kept the fridge in the breakroom.

Certainly not the worst job I could have had after college. But not the best. When I got home every day, I ranted to my boyfriend and watched mushy animes just to make myself feel okay again. This didn’t leave much time for writing.

I decided to go back on the job market because I knew I could do better. I applied for a job at a small press that had almost hired me for the same position a year earlier. It was a bit humbling to apply again, but it showed my dedication, and I got the position.

Now I work with books every day. And I love it. At the end of a day, I have more emotional energy leftover, meaning I have less ranting and anime-watching to do to feel ready to write. It’s made a huge difference in what I’m able to accomplish on any given weeknight. It’s done as much or more for my writing as craft classes have.

Self-care is an integral part of the writing process. Take it with as much seriousness as you take grammar and punctuation.