Why don’t you quit your job and write full time?

This is the most asked and answered question of all when you are a writer. I’ve been asked it many times, and I've answered it many times.

There were two good posts this week about not quitting your day job to write. One on the Dystel & Goderich literary agency blog which links to an article on the Millions The Writer Career Arc or Why we Love the Susan Boyle Story which examines the myth of the rags to riches writing career.

I have two standard one-liners that I use depending on the situation. There is the sarcastic version: “Have you ever met a writer? Most of them are still wearing the same fair-trade cotton t-shirt they bought back in 1987 at the folk fest.” Or the modern realism version: “Have you ever met a writer? Most of them can’t even afford to buy a cookie to enjoy alongside their hot beverage of choice when we go for coffee.”

I’m still waiting for a payment of $17.50 from an article I wrote in the 1990s. I’ve let it go, after all my stalking activities lead to the editor’s phone machine (yes it was the 90s, before voice mail) where the message was: “I’m either at work or asleep. Leave a message.” I did. It wasn’t about the money (clearly $17.50 wasn’t going to make that much of a difference to my bottom line) it was about the principle – if you use my article you need to pay me.

What’s your one-liner answer to the question: why don’t you quit your job and write full time?


Jennifer Landels said…
I'm trying, Jan, I'm trying. My day job just won't let me go. I keep finding Childbearing related tasks stuck to me like barnacles, and it hurts when I peel them off...
Jan Markley said…
Ouch ... that's all I can say ;-j
Jan Markley said…
This is a comment from Jocosa of the Earrings (who I will teach how to use the comment box ;-j)

Morning Jan-O,

Loved today's blog. What am I saying? I love all your blogs, but seriously, this one a keeper and the links--fab.

Reality is that we have to keep the money for PB & J coming in each week. At the same time, I know--without question--we will write full-time before the man with the urn comes calling.

To write, to write and to keep on writing that is the answer...

Onward and Upward, jocosa