In my current position, as a government employee in Japan, I'm not allowed to receive remuneration for anything that doesn't count as part of my job. Sadly, that means writing. It got me to thinking about how I prioritise writing. So over the next couple/few/several weeks, I'll be posting on how, when and what writin takes priority over.
My job has a time limit. I have a maximum of 5 years. That leaves me less than a year and a half. I know how publishing works. Even if I got an agent tomorrow, I would probably not being seeing money in hand for a novel within that time span. So right now, this remuneration issue would only arise with short work. (I've already devised a solution. Charity. I mean re they really going to stop me from earning money for a needy cause?)
So, it's not much of an issue for now, but it got me thinking about the future.
When I took this job, I had no intention of receiving remuneration elsewhere. I decided to 'go pro' in 2008, after my first Nano, and after having lived in Japan for a few months. Now, I know I want to write (and sell) novels, I can't see the point in taking a job that won't allow me to do that.
Some people will make the bird in hand argument. How can I sacrifice the job I know I could have for the possibility of one that might never come? It's true, that is a sacrifice. On the other hand, let's say I take that job and then I get a book deal with a small advance. What do I do? Quit my job when the publishing company sends me a thousand-dollar check? Risk my job on the hope that no one in my HR department reads YA? Refuse the book deal? (*laughs a little* *cries more*)
I just don't see the point of putting myself through that stress. So, I've decided that unless it's absolutely unavoidable - I'm living Garbage Pail Kids' style - then I'm taking a job that will let me have other work.
Seeing writing as a priority, type of job is also important. I've been spoiled be starting out on my writing career as an ALT (Assistant Language Teacher) on the JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching) programme. There are days when all I have to do is sit there. I use zero brain power many days, so my brain is only to happy to perform when I need it. I only work 7 hours a day. I live less than an hour's walk from all my schools. I have oodles of free time.All of these combine to say this: there has never been a better time for me to be a writer. There probably will never be another time this perfect. (Until I can support myself on my writing alone.)
It would be considerably more difficult for me to writeif I held a job which didn't allow me a lot of free time and/or ate up all my brain power. I don't know how easy it will be to swing these requirements, but you can bet I will try.
That's how and when I'm prioritising writing over the day job. How about you?