Authors and Day Jobs

Hey all! It’s my first time blogging on the Soul Mates Blog, and I’m thrilled to be here! I’m one of the newest SMP authors – my first release was in June (curious? Of Love and Darkness is the name of my first SMP release – check it out HERE), but I’m not a new author. I have a few books under my belt, as well as blogs. I blog on my own website, as well as on the Writing Wenches blog, and soon, I’ll be joining Love, Lust, and Laptops, also. Clearly, I like to write.

Workplace_crazy But guess what? I also have a day job. Yep, I sure do. And it has nothing to do with writing. Okay, yes, I send a bazillion emails every day, so technically, I *am* writing while at the day job. But that’s as far as the connection goes.

For about nine months out of the year, I don’t mind my day job. I’d even go so far as to say I like it. It’s interesting, I have some pretty cool co-workers, it’s one of those jobs where you never stop learning, and it pays a decent wage.

And then there’s fall.

That’s our busy season. By busy, I mean we cram a years’ worth of business into a three-month period. Twelve hour days become the median; often we have to work weekends, night, early mornings, you name it. It’s really more along the lines of insanity. Some at my company call it “Oktoberfest.” I call it Three Months of Hell.Workplace_Thursday

I hate it because who wouldn’t hate working twelve hours a day, five (or six) days a week? Oh, and did I mention this little caveat – I’m a salaried employee? That means I get paid the same amount, week after week, whether I work ten hours or sixty. During the off-season, this comes in handy. During the busy season, it feels as though I make $4.32 per hour.

But that hate is short-lived. I mean, really, it’s three months out of the year. Who can’t handle that? This is my sixth year with the company, so clearly, I can.

It’s the other hate that gets me. The resentment, the jealousy I feel because that place is stealing my writing time. I become bitter; I become covetous of the precious time I am not consumed by the day job. I rarely see my family, not necessarily because of the day job, but because when I am not there, I am curled up with my darling laptop, taking advantage of that rare opportunity to either write or edit. I drink a lot (okay, more than a lot), I don’t eat much; my poor dog hardly gets the exercise she needs to ensure she does not chew the legs off the coffee table.

I spend my commute mentally analyzing our household income and the not-nearly-sustainable-enough royalties I’m bringing in. I try to figure out what expenses we can cut, so I can justify cutting my income. (It has to be the husband’s beer habit, because I’m sure as hell not cutting my wine consumption.) I rack my coffee-soaked brain over and over (it’s a long commute), and by the time I’ve reached the office, I find myself sitting in my car, staring at the door, which is beckoning me back into another trip to hell, and I want to cry, or better yet, crank the ignition and drive away and never go back again.

It is at these times that I have to check myself, catch myself, talk myself off the ledge. Here are the facts I remind myself of, when I reach that point of almost no return…

  1. My commute is one hour each way. (Okay, not a particularly positive aspect, but keep reading.) Ten hours a week of almost entirely uninterrupted brainstorming time. Oh, how many stories have been crafted during that time! How many frusWomen-in-the-workplacetrating plotlines have I been able to work out? How many heroes’ names have I concocted? How many closing paragraphs have I mentally written?
  2. I work in an office comprised largely of females under age thirty. This allows me to stay current with fashion do’s… And fashion don’t’s. It also allows me to pick their brains (under the guise of pretending I care about their most recent relationship woos) about what twenty-something women really think in today’s world. As much as I hate to admit it, it’s been a couple decades and sixteen years of marriage since I’ve experienced much of what I write in my books. I gotta stay current somehow, right?
  3. Back to the commute. It’s really quite a lovely commute. (Okay, it’s a crazy ass, stupid long commute. But it’s still pretty.) I drive past houses from lower middle class to elaborate mansions. I pass numerous lakes, lots of woods, a cute Irish tavern, wetlands, businesses, you name it. It really helps me to visualize whatever I plan to put into that next story (whenever I get the chance to write it).
  4. Workplace_Match DateAnd back again to the office. Can we talk plot bunnies? Every time a couple of co-workers stand too closely, I wonder if they are having an affair. Or, more honestly, I’m wondering how I can write their made up affair into a book. I’ve taken my co-workers and my idea of an affair not only into the boardroom, but into the onsite exercise facility–specifically into the shower (I have a thing for writing shower sex, but that’s for another blog post). And then I’ve introduced the new guy into the mix, stirred up a bit of trouble, and suddenly, I’m writing a workplace love triangle. The possibilities are endless…
  5. How about those personalities? We can all create personalities in our heads, but who’s to say our ideas are accurate? Have you ever met a hunky guy with a brain, who could cook (and enjoyed doing it), have sex on demand, choose shopping over football, actually contribute at least fifty percent to the task of keeping house and raising children, and at the end of the day, greet you with a smile and a glass of wine? Yeah, me neither. But I sure as hell can concoct him in my mind!Workplace_Socially-Awkward-Meme
  6. That’s where the day job comes in. While we all love the above mentioned god, the reality is, most of us want heroes with a tiny bit of a flaw. (We need something to fix, after all.) The day job provides me with lots of flaws. In both men and women. That place is ridiculous with writing fodder. Character development, plotlines, ideas, plans, everything. I could write a dozen books based on the people I work with every single day. If only I could find the time.

Usually by this point I find myself trudging toward the office, despite my best intentions. Because what I’ve listed above is true. I wouldn’t have nearly as much inspiration if I were sitting at home, alone, in front of my laptop all day.

Not that I wouldn’t like the opportunity to try….OfLoveandDarkness (400)

Tami Lund Headshot 2014Brought to you by Tami Lund, an author. Who writes. A lot. If you’re interested in something longer than a blog post, check out her latest Soul Mates release, Of Love and Darkness, Book One in the Twisted Fate Series.

About Tami Lund

Author, Blogger, Wine Drinker, Award Winner. Writing happily ever afters, one book at a time.
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3 Responses to Authors and Day Jobs

  1. Not long ago I was in the same position, and I miss some of those perqs you mentioned– especially being around younger adults, tuning into their language and issues, enjoying the fashions and trends. So glad you can enjoy those positives and– the kicker!– use some of them in your storytelling. Hang in there, Tami. 🙂

  2. Christine says:

    I know exactly how you feel about your day job. My day jobs are usually somewhere in the realm of corporate communications, copywriting, blogging, and writing in one form or another. But it isn’t fulfilling the way writing fiction is. I sometimes think that my relationship with fiction is destined to steal from my life as much as it enhances. Such is the curse! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Pingback: Blogging About Favorite Shifters | Tami Lund

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