But Amie, What’s your real job?

First of all: Boooooo. My real job is writing. It just doesn’t make me money … yet. Our real jobs are what makes us happy, and fills our souls. So we are all, (whether profitable or not) writers and writing is our job.

But in all seriousness, this is one of the questions I get asked most. Which is completely and uttlery fair enough. What on earth do I do to pay the bills and live my life…

I really want to reply to these comments, it seems simple enough –  what do I do for a job? But I never ever end up replying, because for me, the story of ‘what I do’ is really complicated, and at the moment quite exhausting.

Let’s roll it back to early 2015. I had just finished my degree in medieval sexuality and english lit, but I needed rent / book / coffee money.

So for all of 2015 I worked as an Exec assistant in a 9-5 office job that quite honestly etched away at my soul. I had very few people around me, the work was wildly boring and there was very little work to do. I would bring my writing in for the endless quiet hours but I never ever managed to get any story telling done at work. This makes me feel guilty, still to this day, I am angry at myself for not making it work. I would complain to my friends, “There is nothing to do at work! I’m so bored.” And I would be bombarded with comments like, “You’re so lucky! Fill it with writing! Read! Do whatever you want to do!”

I still don’t really know why I couldn’t write in the office last year, but I couldn’t. I just could not write. I became an expert at literarily staring into space for hours until someone asked me to get milk. HOW – FUCKING – DEPRESSING. I’m honestly embarrassed to write that. But it was what happened.

Instead, I wrote outside of work, on the weekends and in the early mornings. But obviously, this job was not going to last forever. At the end of the year,  I managed to get two businesses to let me run their social media for them. I was okay at doing it. I blogged, did their Insta and Facebook. And they payed me.

I decided that I could do this as my full time job. Get a handful more clients, work for myself, from home and WRITE ALL THE TIME. I honestly thought this was the best idea. It sounds so perfect. As I write this, it sounds perfect. But this job has come with a hundred and one challenges, and has taken a toll on my mental health.

So that is what I’ve been doing all year. I’ve been running my own business called ‘The Social Office’ and I create content and manage people’s social media accounts. That’s why theres so many god damn photos of me at cafes … finally it makes sense.

QUICK BREAK.  This is such a long post. I know i’m used to the 100 word Insta posts but this really feels so long. Congrats if you’ve got this far.

The three biggest challenges of working for myself, whilst tying to write a book.

  1. Absolutely no one is ever going to make you do anything. Getting out of bed can be so hard. Especially when deep down you know if you slept until 11am, there would be no real consequences.
  2. I have had some truly terrible bosses over my life time, but I can honestly say – I AM THE WORST BOSS I HAVE EVER HAD. I am so fucking mean.  Every time I don’t write for long enough or don’t get out of bed at the right time, I harass myself. This voice is very engrained, and very hard to control.
  3. You are mostly alone. This has been the hardest part for me. I have felt so lonely.

I wrote an IG post yesterday about the exhausting power of choice. As a writer who does not have a contract, we always have to make choices to write. No one is making us. We have to choose Every Single Day to follow our dreams and write. The choice to write everyday is hard for me, and combining this with the self motivation it takes to run your own business has been a next level challenge.

For several months, (before I sought some help) the typical day for me would be waking up, working out, and then doing my work for the day. That would take me up to about 1pm. Now it was time to write. I would sit down, write a bit, an hour would pass. I would get distracted. Turn on the TV. Realise I haven’t spoken to anyone all day. Then realise that I’m watching a third episode of the Gilmore girls. CUE anger and upset at myself for not writing for long enough, but getting too upset to actually do anything constructive, so I cry and continue watching tv, because everything else is too hard, and no one is there to stop me.

I had my better days too, cafe writing is extremely wonderful and in all honestly this year has allowed me to write my story and get it to its fourth draft, (I am SO lucky in so many ways) but it has also been the cause of a lot of anxiety and loneliness, and so I’ve got new things on the cards coming up in the next few weeks!  But in reality, no matter how many jobs I get, as I said at the start, my real job is writing. It’s my profession and my passion and I am endlessly thankful for it.

This post seems a little depressing, but I think it really outlines how hard it is for people of creative hearts to find jobs that work for them. We do not fit into conventional jobs.

We often do not do well working 9-5 at desks, and we might not do well working all alone at home either. It is hard when the thing that sets us alight with happiness does not let us pay the bills. I think that is why I am telling you this story in such detail. For a creative soul to find work that is bearable and that pays the rent is HUGELY challenging and it is something that we should all talk about together. Because I needed support this year, and I most certainly found it in this community of authors, and so I offer support back to you all, if this is something that you are struggling with right now.

 

24 Comments

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  1. This is so relatable, thank you for sharing! At the moment writing is the one stable ‘job’ I got, we are so lucky to at least have that 🙂

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  2. Thank you for this! I related to so much if it.

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  3. Great read Amie. I like the way you write. Yeah writing has made me 0 gazillion dollars from the end of 2013. I go on like a deranged woman and just flat out lie to my friends and family so they stop bugging me. I tell them I apply for many jobs. #writeon. Don’t feel lonely though. Email me anytime ☺

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  4. Yeeeessss!!!!!! It feels good to know that I’m not alone in my deeds and feelings!

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  5. Yes it is hard. It is lonely, but I have found writing my blog to be very enjoyable. I write from 200-500 words max on my blog because any longer and people don’t read it. So if one day you only want to write a hundred then it’s okay. I have to work 9-5 because banks don’t wait for inspiration, However, I have been upskilling so I can semi retire into writing. Good luck. Keep writing! Weekends are best for me.

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  6. Wow! This is a great post 🙂
    Shared it on my writers page too!

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  7. Thank you. You are an amazing human being. I usually do not comment on people’s blogs. But I owe it to myself to say this to you. Your posts on Instagram are my life every bit of it. I repost your post on my page every now then. You touch so many people just by reflecting on yourself. Siyabonga (Thank you) You’re an inspiration. Thank you once again.
    Love from South Africa.

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  8. Thank you for sharing, Amie! I understand how hard it is to carve out time to write – I face similar challenges every day. If you can’t write, then read. I have no problem with the latter.

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  9. Thank you for sharing, Amie! I can understand how hard it is sometimes it is to crave out time every day to write. If you can’t write, then read is what I have been told. I have no problem with that!

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  10. So much truth in this post. It is so hard to balance the cubicle, pays the bills and has great health insurance (American here), but quietly whittles away my soul job and finding the time and passion to write. And the worst part is the guilt. I really appreciate your honesty and reminders to be kind to ourselves; I hope you’re able to be kind to yourself too.

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  11. Can definitel relate. My current bill-paying job is sucking my soul and leaving my creative well bone dry. I totally do the same, watch tv then feel terrible for not writing instead. I am going insane!

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  12. This helps me so much – i cant adequately express or thank you – but please keep writing honestly about this life and this journey because it is freaking hard and stressful and complicated and amazing and difficult and scary and all of it.
    Also please never worry if a blog post is depressing – its authentic and where ur at and as you see, where so many of us are at. When you are in a better place or having a better day your post that day will reflect that too. Never apologise! Just please keep writing. I dont feel so alone today.

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  13. I love how raw you are in your post! Keep doing what you’re doing! 🙂

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  14. Thanks for this blog post. 💕 It’s hard to find the time for writing, and even harder to actually write in that time!

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  15. You just described my heart and soul as a writer — THANK YOU for sharing your thoughts and for being vulnerable; I am such a huge fan of yours and am inspired by both your ups and downs. Hugs to you, Amie!

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  16. I relate to everything you wrote. I started my WordPress blog many years ago (2010) with the intent to be a journal of a writer kind of thing, to motivate me to write my first book. Somewhere along the way someone asked me in a very rude way why I wasn’t working on a full time job, and implying I was kind of a loser. I stopped writing that book soon after that, and stopped the blog too. Now I am back 6 years later, starting a completely new book, this time publishing that drafts in IG (I’m the vcondez that just left you a comment there) just to keep me going and I think I finally have the thick skin needed to do this. Great post.

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  17. Oh my wow! Your persona seems to leap off this post! I love it! Happy writing 🙂

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  18. Hey Amie,
    Great post, and I love your Instagram too! Loads of interesting thoughts.

    It got me thinking, and I wrote a blog post ‘in response’ I guess – If you’re interested: https://jonathan-aldridge.com/2016/10/19/why-not-being-a-writer-is-good-for-writers/

    Anyway, keep it up 🙂
    Jonny

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  19. This was awesome, and right on time as I suffer through my own ‘getting out of bed’ struggles. I especially like that you recognize that you’re your own worse boss, I second that. Nobody tells us to write. It’s a self propelled activity that requires way too much mindless soul searching, as if we become better at it the more we get swallowed up by our own inaction. Hooo hummm, see, even now I’m trying to convince myself to not reset my alarm for 930. My muse is still sleeping, I think I’ll join him….I’ll do better tomorrow lol. THANKS AGAIN. I LOVE YOU BLOG AND YOUR INSTAGRAM.

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  20. Totally totally relatable. You know I am on that same path as yours.. first graduated, then job, bored bored bored, left the job and now I am doing freelance writing for making living 🙂 I hope i’ll make it up in this. And yes, totally we writers are not meant for those 9-5 jobs, seriously. ❤

    Thank you for this post ❤

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  21. Great post! So many of us can relate in a different way, but make sure to pursue your passion

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  22. Thank you for sharing this! As a fellow writer I most certainly am relating! Happy Sunday!!!!

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  23. I came through such boring job. There only I started writing 😉 but, yes, I can understand that boredom..

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  24. Thank you. Just simply thank you. I have been a writer my whole life, with the dream to have it as a full time career. Over the past couple years, I have gotten much more serious about it and wrote my first novel. I am currently about done with the fifth draft and then it’s off to get a profession edit. Lately, my everyday job is really dragging me down. I feel that what I am doing with my writing is exactly where I should be and what I should be doing. With that being said, just getting out of bed to go to work at a job that is so draining is extremely difficult. The job I have to go to is very demanding and leaves me feeling weary at the end of the day, to the point that is hinders my motivation to write. I feel like the job I have, in order to get money to live, is doing nothing but getting in the way. I loved what you said, “We do not fit into conventional jobs.” Because that’s exactly how I have felt lately. Sorry for the long comment. Just wanted to say thank you 🙂

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