October #InkRipples: Writing Is My Career(ish)

Posted by Katie L. Carroll on October 23, 2017 in Anecdote, Books, Creativity, Family, Ink Ripples, Parenting, Writing |

This month’s #Inkripples of career vs. hobby had me scratching my head. Is my writing a career or a hobby? I’m not sure. I think somewhere in between. Here’s my dilemma: I’m a stay-at-home parent who also works on the side. So family stuff is the first priority, but my main “work” (quotes because raising kids is work in and of itself, but let’s say for this post, it means something not having to do with the kiddos) right now is writing, with a little freelance editing on the side.

But I am not financially independent right now (I have a mini panic attack every time I think too hard about this fact). I depend on my husband’s job to pay the bills, for health insurance, and to make sure my kids are fed. My husband and I made the decision to become a one-income family after lots of thought and careful consideration of whether or not we could make it work financially.

The question remains whether or not writing will become my career once the kids are bigger and I go back to work. I really have no desire to go back to an office job like I had before kids (I was a puzzle magazine editor…I certainly didn’t hate the job, but after doing it for 8 years, it became tedious). And I wand to have the flexibility to be able to support my kids as they grow because even big kids will require my time. I’m not sure I want to commit full-time to a gig economy either.

Do I want to back to school? Do I want to work in a field that isn’t writing and write on the side like I did when I worked full-time? Do I want to just get a job at a bookstore or a cafe or open a tea shop and write in my free time? (Notice writing will likely always factor into the picture.)

The answers to questions definitely depend on what my situation will be when my youngest (now only 3 months old) is big enough for me to have to make a decision. So I have some time to decide. The pie-in-the-sky hope is that I end up with a string of best-selling books and I won’t have to worry about what my job will be because it will be writing. But, honestly, so few people can support themselves this way that if feels irresponsible not to at least think about what else I will do for work.

And thinking about all this right now gives me anxiety. I guess for now, I’ll just try to enjoy taking care of my little ones and being able to squeeze in the writing time when I can.

How about you? Do you have any hobbies that could potentially become a career? Or do you like that your hobbies are just that, hobbies?

#InkRipples is a monthly meme created by Katie L. CarrollMary Waibel, and Kai Strand. We pick a topic (October is all about Career vs. Hobby), drop a ripple in the inkwell (i.e. write about it on our blogs), and see where the conversation goes. We’d love to have you join in the conversation on your own blogs or on your social media page. Full details and each month’s topic can be found on my #InkRipples page.

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  • Kai Strand says:

    I actually wish I could treat it like a hobby because then I’d experience a lot less anxiety over the success – or non-success – of my books. But I’m an all or nothing type of person, so when I decided to go after a career as a published author, I committed to making it all the way 😉 Enjoy those boys. My youngest graduated high school last year – WHAT? It goes so, so fast.

    • I feel ya, Kai! It’s nice to be committed to something, but it does add an extra layer of pressure. I started writing because it felt like the thing I needed to do, and even when it was hard, there was joy in it. But when you move into making it a career, the business of it can start to overshadow why you started writing in the first place. Hugs to you!

  • I’ve always thought opening a little hot chocolate specialty store in some city (San Francisco, Seattle, Portland?) always sounded like a lot of fun. But, as I mentioned in my post, I have a career and trick will probably always be finding a way to balance that and writing 🙂

  • Enjoy your boys, Katie. They grow up too fast. I had two boys when I started college. A third when I graduated and became a teacher. They were grown before I started writing. Now, I can’t stop. It’s not a hobby, but I’d starve without my teacher’s pension.

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