Don't Quit Your Day Job:
- All Rights Reserved
Regardless of the stage
you’re at in your writing career, you’ve no doubt heard
the advice to keep your day job more than once. And
unless you’re making six-figure advances, it’s a good
rule of thumb to follow.
But before you
start to take out your anger on your line of work because it
comes between you and your writing passion, why not take a
fresh look at how it can actually help grow your writing
writing with your day job—or hobby, other pastimes, areas where
you have specialty knowledge or an in-depth understanding—can
benefit your writing career on many levels.
If you’re a
beginning writer, you can add much-needed clips to your
portfolio or website. You’ll get the experience of working on
deadline with editorial staff and have the chance to hone your
skills with the possibility of being published.
established? Promote your currently published work through
short, targeted articles that focus on a particular area of
expertise touting your byline and bio (for example, if your
latest novel is set in a particular city, you can pen an
article of an aspect of that city you’ve discovered through
research) or approach an editor with a column idea based on
insight you think the editor might find valuable to readers of
his/her publication to grow your readership and fan base for
even more future sales.
you’ve got an idea why you should write, let’s look at what you
can write. With a little thought, there are a variety of
options to pursue.
interested in starting small, see if your employer sends out a
newsletter, either print or electronic. Perhaps you can conduct
interviews with colleagues or clients on a monthly basis for
each issue. Many editors, especially ones with small or
non-existent budgets and staff, seek quality content to
interest readers but have few regular writers. Other popular
ideas are reviews of products pertinent to your business, books
reviews on topics that apply to your area, even reviews of
websites colleagues can use as resources.
something bigger? Check out trade publications and other
publications that cater to business or industry related to
yours. Like editors at smaller publications, trade magazines
have a pressing need for timely articles, reviews and
interviews within their content area and many times will look
to establish a long-term relationship with writers who can
offer specialty writing for their publication. Editors at trade
and smaller magazines are often more willing to discuss article
and column ideas with you if you have knowledge—or even a
serious interest—in an area that appeals to their readers and a
willingness to work with them.
At some point,
every writer daydreams about submitting their resignation in
the real world to spend their days alone with words. Until
then, take the time to use that day job to your advantage. You
never know where the next article idea might lead.
Morrow is a freelance author who dreams of someday spending an
entire day writing in her pyjamas. For now, she’s happy
teaching middle school ESL and researching a business book with
a fast-approaching deadline. Visit her online