Writing and the Work/life Balance

I didn’t do any work on my WIP this week because life got in the way. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it. To be fair, apart from the usual household stuff that needs done, I had a couple of big distractions. It’s not every week that I sell my house and have to prepare for a job interview. Of course that didn’t mean that I wasn’t thinking about my WIP and this is surely just as important as filling a screen with words just for the hell of it.

But it was frustrating to have to put my ideas on hold while I researched information for the job I’ve applied for and set about the interview task of preparing a PowerPoint presentation. In the ideal world, I would finish my dissertation and my novel before trying to get a job but in the real world (not the fantasy Planet Helen which my hubby accuses me of living in), I am under no illusions that I can make money from my writing(well not until I win the Booker prize).  And I never expected that doing the MLitt would create job opportunities so it was time for a reality check.

After writing last week’s blog post on reasons why people write, Jeanette Winterson  article in yesterday’s Guardian really touched a nerve about the financial side of writing and the motivation to write, “It can’t be about money, because it costs more to go on a good course than most people will ever make back from their writing.”

But how do new writers or less commercially successful writers survive financially? Do they have wealthy partners or live off fresh air? I’m very fortunate to have a hubby who has been able to support me financially (and emotionally) during the course but I have two teenage sons, a mortgage and a finite supply of time to indulge myself in writing full-time without contributing to the family income.

I’m also conscious that I’ve been able to use the title, ‘student’ for the last seven months and when the bubble finally bursts and the course is officially over, I don’t want to swap the label for ‘unemployed’ (I’ve never been out of work in my adult life) so with any luck, in the words of the seven dwarfs, I’ll soon be singing, “Hi ho it’s off to work I go…”

2 thoughts on “Writing and the Work/life Balance

  1. Helen, good luck with the job interview and the house sale – although I do of course hope that you manage to finish your WIP, that it is a literary sensation and that you can hand in your resignation and live off the proceeds. Failing that, I really hope you love your new job. x

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