Or How My Choice of Job Can be Affected by my Writing Ambitions
My six month contract as Head of Communications is up and I need to pack my belongings in a knotted hanky, hang it on the end of a stick and head back out to where the streets are paved with gold to find another job.
I am fortunate that hard work and enjoying my job has given me an impressive CV and therefore some choices. I have a career and a not too shabby one either. But if you have been reading any of my previous blogs you will know that what I really want to do is earn my money writing books. And that is a monumentally difficult task to achieve I am told wherever I ask. There is no careers advice, no qualifications to take, no internships, no mentors to guide you. You just have to hope you are good enough and hope that you get some luck. Invest time and resource writing a book and slog it round to agents hoping someone might like it. Not a sound bet when you put it like that. A friend of mine worked in PR like me but wanted to be a GP. So after plenty of soul searching and financial calculations, she gave up work and went back to university to spend four years studying. Whilst this was a massive commitment, she knew that if she passed her exams, a job in a doctor’s surgery would be waiting with her name on a placard in reception at the end. Guaranteed. It was a commitment, not a risk. No such guarantees in writing sadly.
As you know if you are a follower of my blog, I am a single mother of two daughters. Whilst I get on well with their father, my wage is the only one keeping us afloat. I want it to be as big as I can get: if I am going to have to schlep into London every day, leaving at 7.30 and not getting home until 6.30, paying someone else to look after my girls after school, then damn right I want to negotiate every flipping penny. I want a top wage, a bonus too if there is one going and all the goodies and benefits I can lay my sweaty hands on. But then my current employer dangled a four day week in front of me. Now that is not playing fair.
In my line of work four day weeks, job shares, working part time are rare and not something that can be considered at a senior level so this offer nudged me off course for a while. Only working four days. One day a week free. Girls at school, house quiet. I could write. For six hours a day. Uninterrupted. Completing my second book whilst my first is doing the rounds is now a real possibility.
My salary would be pro rata of course so there would be a financial consequence but ….. But.
I could live comfortably on the reduced wage, there would be camping holidays rather than fancy all inclusives in some sunny spot. Maybe eating out less but I wouldn’t be going back to the days where I had to make a pound of sausages last for two meals or lurk around in Tesco before closing time to grab some knocked down bargains.
So it comes down to how much do I believe? I don’t have a guaranteed place on the author best seller list if I finish another book. I am told the chances of it even getting read by an agent let alone published are slim to none. I have already made a significant investment in writing the first one by taking four months off work so is it worth investing still more in another? Or is it throwing good money after bad? How do I know?
This is my dilemma. Do I march onwards with the career, reaping the financial rewards, or do I jump off the writer cliff and hope the net will appear?