by Dean James
Contrary to what readers sometimes think, many (if not most) writers don't make a full-time living from their writing. Among the membership of the Femmes we're fairly evenly split, I think, among those who write full-time and those who have other jobs and write "on the side."
I'm one of those who "writes on the side." In my day job I'm a medical librarian in the Texas Medical Center, the largest complex of its kind in the world. I'm the head of the department that handles the print and electronic books, journals, and databases that our library acquires or licenses. It's an interesting, sometimes challenging, job, and I enjoy it tremendously. I work with great people in a supportive environment, and the job brings excellent benefits, like health insurance and a regular paycheck.
I would love to live the glamorous life of the full-time writer (and already I'm hearing the snorts of derision from the Femmes who are full-time writers), but I'm not near that point yet, despite having published seventeen novels in the past twelve years. Someday I might get to the point where I can say goodbye to being a medical librarian and focus completely on writing, but it might never happen.
I'm actually okay with that, because I've been operating this way for the past twenty-seven years. Working full-time, having a part-time job or two in addition, and writing when I can. Two-day weekend? What's that? I'm fundamentally a lazy person, and I could happily be a kept man with the right inducements, but since no one has offered, I have to do it myself.
Every writer has to find what works, and what the budget will allow. This is my own peculiar way of doing things, and I didn't share this for sympathy or pity (although if someone wants to buy a few extra copies of my recent books, I wouldn't say no). If you keep telling yourself "well, I'll get around to writing that book when I can find the time," trust me, you can find the time.