Friday, August 31, 2007


I don’t know a whole lot of authors who don’t have a day job. The ones who I imagine enjoy the luxury of writing full time, doing as they please while the royalty checks runneth over, don’t run in the same circles that I do. I do however imagine myself running in their circles some day very soon. Until then, and even after, I’ll work a day job. I’m very fortunate that I’m currently working a day job that I thoroughly enjoy which is the luxury I’m afforded by being a published author.

Technically, I’m an independent contractor who pimps her administrative skills. Some have called what I do consulting. Depending on whether or not I’m paying Uncle Sam after-the-fact or someone else is paying him for me in advance determines what I may or may not call it. The reality is no matter what you might want to call it, it’s still just a J-O-B.

Currently, I’m working in a video store. My job responsibilities run the gamut from cleaning person to store manager. For the most part, if it needs to be done, I do it. I’m thoroughly entertained every time I’m there. There’s always someone wanting to tell me a story about someone or something. Here, in this small town with its nosy people, good gossip runs rampant. When there’s no one there I watch movies. I’ve met some amazing people and have been allowed a peek into their daily lives and it’s truly been a sweet, sweet, gig. I also get paid quite nicely to have such a good time.

I do however get thoroughly annoyed when someone discovers I’m a published author and has the audacity to question, ‘what are you doing here?’, as if my being ‘there’ is some personal affront to them. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’m certain my expression has voiced my annoyance at the question without my having to say a word.

Why not here? What’s wrong with me being there? Are published authors not allowed to work anywhere else? Is a job that pays some bills, keeps cash in my baby boy’s pockets, and my own, a job that I should not be proud of? I like my job. I like working the register and dealing with the customers. I enjoy talking shop with the owner and sharing opinions with movie enthusiasts. I so love that I can do what I do.

Writing is such a solitary act. Sitting in front of a computer or with pad and paper in hand leaves a lot to be desired if you enjoy companionship and conversation that isn’t just happening in your own head. That day job keeps me sane and grounded and although I’ll enjoy the moment when my royalty cup runneth over, I don’t know that I’ll ever give up an opportunity to challenge popular opinion by doing a job someone else doesn’t think a published author should do.


bettye griffin said...

I know exactly what you mean, Debby. I gave writing full time a try last year. It wasn't for me. I'd previously worked at home for many years doing medical transcription before my wrists started to object, but there's a difference between doing one's work and actually trying to write all day long. I never had that solitary feeling while transcribing (I guess it had something to do with the doctor's voices in my ear).

Now I do temp work, which works well for me. Not being a full-time employee gives me freedom to take a fair amount of time off. I dislike administrative work, but I hit the jackpot earlier this year and have a long-term assignment I love, doing medical editing and proofreading. I work with two great people and we have tons of fun.

Screw popular opinion. Do what makes you happy.

Deborah Mello said...

I so agree with you, Bettye. Thanks for chiming in!

Adrianne Byrd said...

Shoot! That does sound like a sweet job. I agree. just do what makes you feel happy-the heck with the rest.