Today’s a big day.
It’s been just over a year since I posted the very first entry to this blog and began a long journey into what it means to be a creative worker. It’s also been a year and change since I started setting up the site design, and thirteen months since I bit the bullet and bought the domain, which happened the same week I made an even bigger life change by waving goodbye to my old life and Day Job in Nebraska.
Every so often I like to stand back and reflect on where I am, where I’ve come from, and where I’m going to make sure I’m still on the right track, and I recommend that everyone out there do the same. I do this both to avoid feelings of failure and to see what’s been working and what hasn’t.
Over the past year I’ve posted one new blog entry a week with the exception of Christmas week—because everybody needs a break sometime. I’ve written about the mindset of being a creative person with a Day Job, the challenges of keeping a balance between creative work and Day Job work, and how difficult it can be to present yourself to people when your passion doesn’t match the way you pay your bills. I consider this the soul of this blog, my main topic of exploration, and the reason I first decided to reach out—because far too much of everything else read ignores the practical challenges of the creative life.
A major element of this blog has been money: I’ve talked a lot about budgets, debt, and financial independence, because I believe strongly that not tying yourself to a bunch a bills not only leaves you freer to deal with creativity-related expenses, it puts you in a better position to leave or partly leave your Day Job as you work toward making your creative work your focus.
I’ve also talked a lot about working around a very real Day Job schedule, setting your own deadlines, avoiding distractions like cell phones, email, and news, and the very real dangers of overextending yourself. The more you have going on, the higher the stakes for using the time you have to get your shit done, and making good use of that time can mean the difference between success and failure.
I keep this blog partly because I want to sort out these issues in my head as I work to improve, but also because I want to show people that they’re not alone, that everyone has trouble getting their shit done sometimes, and that there’s always hope for making the Day Job life work better for you.
I’ve also shared a lot of other people’s experiences: I’ve talked to indie writer and public art guru Paul Hanson Clark about everything from getting enough sleep to warding off the demons of capitalist voodoo, and reflected with poet James Crews about the advantages and disadvantages of being a writer in academia. Both interviews were super fun to do since I got to sit down face-to-face with two genuinely interesting people and just talk, which led to my getting WAY more material than we could ever use (you can actually hear an audio outtake from my Paul Hanson Clark interview here).
I’ve also had some really cool people submit their own stories: about leaving a lucrative job to focus on your writing, juggling creative work and parenting, and the amazingly super-efficient system that is the bullet journal. Pieces like these are invaluable because they provide perspectives that I can’t give you on my own and show how other like-minded people grapple with the challenges of the Day Job life. (And on that note, I’m always open for sharing a guest post, so if you have an idea for something cool, hit me up!)
In the meantime, I’ve also kept up my goal of reading an average of one book a week for 2017 with 99-word reviews of each book, both to keep myself motivated and to share books I’ve liked in a way that’s simple and easily scrollable. Finding new stuff to read can often feel overwhelming and random (not to mention riddled with guilt over all those books you thought you were supposed to have read in high school), so I’m happy to add my two cents to the mix ;-)
This blog has been an important part of my life for the past year, both while I was dividing my time between my novel and my Secret Work-From-Home Day Job, and more recently since I’ve been working my Secret Office Day Job while doing my creative work in the evenings and on weekends like so many of the people reading. This blog’s helped me keep up my confidence, my motivation, and that general sense of momentum that comes from keeping busy.
Finally, speaking of the people reading, in the past year I’ve heard from a ton of readers who’ve loved the concept and appreciated my putting into words a lot of things they’ve been thinking about too. I’ve gotten emails from old friends, had deeper talks with my closest ones, heard from a few strangers, and in general realized that there’s a host of us out there going through the same struggles as we figure out how to get to where we want to be. Everybody’s goals are different, but getting there involves a lot of the same hazards.
That’s why I want to extend a huge, huge HUGE word of thanks to everyone who’s reached out, emailed, commented, shared, word-of-mouth hyped, Facebook-Liked, retweeted, and otherwise supported this site in some way, great or small, because honestly, it means a lot, and pushes me to keep going—both with this blog, and with my work in general.
If you’re new to this site, like what you’ve read, and you’re wondering what you can do to show support, the hands-down easiest way is to Like But I Also Have a Day Job on Facebook, where you’ll also get weekly blog updates complete with wry commentary by yours truly.
Or, if you’re not a FB person (and yeah, I totally get that), I’ve been more active on Twitter recently with my usual true-to-life observations and remarks about the Day Job life, so you can follow me there too.
If social media isn’t your game (also understandable), you can also sign up for my occasional mailing list to get a digest of the past few weeks’ worth of blog posts without the sensory overload of a news feed.
I’m also working on a few other things (both monetary and free!) that you can do to support this blog, and those are definitely in the works for Year 2. Trust me on that one, and watch for more super-cool updates ahead ;-)
It’s been a kick-ass year, everybody.