There’s the day-to-day salaried position as a marketing and communications specialist with a global organisation that brings in the dollars. And then there’s my other writing career–my fiction-writing career (for many years my secret career)–that doesn’t (yet) provide any remuneration, but which nonetheless demands almost as much of my time and attention. (And, if I’m honest, all of my passion.)
I am not alone in this. Thousands of writers the world over juggle day-jobs, family and ‘other’ obsessions. As do many elite and amateur sportspeople, actors and visual artists, serial home renovators, food bloggers, hobby farm enthusiasts–even volunteers with various charities, churches and/or first aid organisations. The list goes on.
Everywhere I turn I see a friend with a consuming passion that is unrelated to whatever he or she does for a day job. Many are writers of course, but by no means all.
What drives so many of us to invest ourselves in two careers? Depending on one’s vocation it might be raw natural talent that won’t be suppressed, or a competitive spirit. Maybe hatred of idleness; perhaps a dream of simply achieving a personal challenge.
Or, at the end of the day, is it merely the sheer joy found in whatever the activity happens to be?
I’ve asked myself this question often and it always comes down to one thing: No matter how much I sometimes resent it, or can’t be bothered on any particular day, I write because I can’t not write. It’s that thrill in the pit of my stomach that won’t go away…
There’s a price of course. For those of us with two careers, there will never be enough time. There will always be the lack of sleep as we try to cram as much into every 24-hour period as we possibly can, and the resulting exhaustion. There’s the housework that doesn’t get done (like the dishes in the sink I haven’t washed for three days and the vacuuming that hasn’t been done in at least a month). And there are the shortcuts one takes with meals…
Is it worth it? Resoundingly yes!
So we sacrifice our TV time (and our social lives) and turn a blind eye to the mouldering bathroom and we progress our two careers as best we can. But it’s not easy. I am constantly aspiring to better time management and striving for the discipline to avoid the lure of leisure-time (yes, I have blogged on these two things before!).
And now over to you. If you are crazy enough to have two careers, how do you manage your time and self-expectations? What drives you to keep going? What’s the hardest thing you have to sacrifice? (Is your housekeeping as unruly as mine?)