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Writers: Don’t quit your day job; make it work for you

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As writers we all have a tendency to want to do nothing but write all day, but something has to pay the electric bill to keep your laptop charged, and that’s where the day job comes in.

(Flickr: Alan Turkus)

(Flickr: Alan Turkus)

Now, if you’re anything like me, the idea of a nine-to-five job fills you with a sense of impending doom.

Even as I write this article, I cringe a little thinking of my own day job.

Read: Write words for cash: Earn a living as a freelancer

Writing might be a secondary endeavor just because life gets busy.

But a day job can serve as an invaluable writing resource if you allow it to inform your writing on a daily basis.

Read: Freelance writing careers look promising in current economy

Check out the following tips for how your day job can do more for you than just keep the lights on.

Structure

As much as we’d like it to be, creativity is not constant. It does not come when called. It has to be coaxed and trained to be consistent and this is especially true for writing. When you have a job you go to at a certain time each day, you will naturally fall into a routine that gives you structured writing times. That routine will train your brain to be creative at specific times and you will become that much more efficient in your writing.

Ideas

Let’s face it — some of the greatest characters in the world are the random people you see once and then never again. Working a job—at least one that puts you in contact with all sorts of people throughout the day—will certainly give you raw writing material. This is probably the most useful tip for anyone scavenging for those great ideas when you’re combing through your own exhaustion at the end of the day. Remember that guy with the glass eye and impeccable vocabulary you rung up this morning? Use him. Let your workaday life fuel the world you’re creating. We all need inspiration, and why can’t it be from your cashier job?

Motivation

You’re a writer. If you want to get out of this mind-numbing job, you’re going to have to work harder to become financially secure with your writing. And you’re going to want to. Getting beyond the bad day at work means you’re going to be doing something that you love: write. Whether it’s at home typing away on that manuscript or running to your writers group, you’ll escape to writing.

See? Even if you’ve got the worst job in the world, you can make it work for you and catapult you into a real writing career.

Nicole Aronis is an aspiring novelist and short story writer. She runs a writing advice and community blog at writerlywonderings.tumblr.com. This is her first contribution to EducatedWriter.com.

Nicole Aronis

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