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The Curious Cat Blog is all about writing, for writers, by a writer.

 

Don't Quit Your Day Job: Ways to Make Your Work "Work" for Your Writing

Carina Sitkus

Below are the resources mentioned during our talk at Hippocampus Magazine's 2018 Hippocamp conference for creative nonfiction writers.

Session description-

The stereotype that you MUST quit your day job to hone your craft and follow your passion for writing quite simply isn’t true. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with devoting your career to writing, but there’s also nothing wrong with complementing your creative work with a—gasp!—day job.

Carina Sitkus will share how her career in marketing and as the editor of a college magazine has sparked creativity and renewed focus in her writing; Amy Young Evrard, an anthropology professor, will share how her academic research turned into an idea for a memoir.

You will leave the session with ideas and practical tips about how to make your own day job work for your creative writing—perhaps even fuel it.

Resources from our talk:

<<< The presentation slides >>>

The Hidden Formula Behind Almost Every Joke on Late Night (video) Slate

Does Having a Day Job Mean Making Better Art? New York Times

Books mentioned-

Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

Real Artists Don't Starve by Jeff Goins

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg

Letters to a Young Writer: Some Practical and Philosophical Advice by Colum McCann

Another I didn't mention, but would recommend reading, is Light the Dark: Writers on Creativity, Inspiration, and the Artistic Process edited by Joe Fassler

Mentioned by session attendees-

Hudson Valley Writers Guild // Programs with structured writing time

*Someone mentioned a resource that I wrote down as "Write number for a day," and I can't find what it references, so if you are the recommender, please comment and I'll add it!

Other-

Info about the CONFAB conference

People offer me thousands of excuses about why they can’t write…It doesn’t really matter what the excuse is. I can hear you saying, ‘Well, but isn’t it true? What if they do have six children and they need to feed them and they need a job?’ Absolutely. But if they burn to write, they also have to find time to write, even if it’s one-half hour a week. They can’t put it off till they’re sixty. They might die at fifty-nine. You have to somehow address your whole life. You can’t put things off…This is our life. Step forward. Maybe it’s only for ten minutes. That’s okay. To write feels better than all the excuses.
— Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones
In ‘A Room of One’s Own’ (1929), her famous, passionate argument about the material conditions necessary for writing, Virginia Woolf compared fiction to a ‘spider’s web, attached ever so lightly perhaps, but still attached to life at all four corners.’ It is a lovely vision of art hanging from the beams of reality, only people are not spiders — they don’t generate just one thing. The trope of the secluded creator has echoes of imprisonment and stasis…Sometimes the artist needs to turn off, to get out in the fray, to stop worrying over when her imagination’s pot will boil — because, of course, it won’t if she’s watching.”
— Katy Waldman “Does Having a Day Job Mean Making Better Art?”, New York Times