I once carried the notion around in my head that writers spent all of their time writing. I had images of settling down in the sunny loft of my house in the middle of the woods with a cup of coffee and a notepad. with no responsibilities besides etching out a world on paper. Only now am I beginning to grasp the level of juggling required to make a living and be a writer at the same time.
Sure, there are the lucky few, the band of brothers, who fight the good fight long and hard enough that they manage to secure full-time writing careers. However, most writers have multiple jobs. They have to in order to pay the bills. Writing remains one of my true passions, but I’ve yet to earn a stable living from it.
Honestly, most writers never do. Which is why flexibility is one of a writer’s greatest assets, to be able to carve out time to write while holding down an actual job.
Or six jobs, in my case.
I recently did a tally for my career advisor. I am a substitute teacher, a substitute outdoor instructor, a private tutor, a freelance writer, a pizza maker, and a test writer for A Pass Educational LLC. Some of these jobs only occupy a few hours of my time per week. The most reliable averages at around 12 hours a week. My professional life is less like a stone fortress and more like one of those infuriating 3-D puzzles where the pieces have to fit perfectly or the entire thing starts to sag sideways.
And yet, amidst all of the juggling, there is still time to write. I’ve learned that you can tell what things are the most important to you, because they are the ones you make time for. I may not have that beautiful writing loft in the wilderness yet. But I have study halls. I have long car rides. I have the backs of attendance sheets and the corners of napkins. It might be tricky, but I’m determined to make this piece of the puzzle fit, even if I have to do it a millimeter at a time.