Episode 11: Reframing The Day Job For Writing Success

Welcome back to Alchemy for Authors!

In this episode, I share strategies for changing your mindset around your day job so you can manifest your dream writing life faster.

Whether you love your day job, or loathe it, let me show you how it can actually be a positive investment in your author career.

If you’re enjoying this show, please remember to rate, review, and subscribe so you never miss an episode.

You can connect with me on Instagram: @jobuerauthor, or join the Alchemy for Authors Facebook Group here.

And if you would like more tips and tricks for manifesting your dream author career, you can join my newsletter and receive a FREE copy of Manifestation for Authors, at www.subscribepage.com/manifestationforauthors.

Find the full transcript of this episode below.

Episode 11: Reframing The Day Job For Writing Success

Hello, my lovelies. Welcome back to Alchemy for Authors!

So today I want to talk about reframing the day job for author success. So this is something that is on my mind all the time, and has been for a couple of years. For many of us, particularly when we start our author journey, we are working it around having a day job. And you would have heard me talk on previous episodes about how I originally got my butt in the chair to write my first novels because of the fact that I was in a not so hot environment with my day job, and my struggles there really led me to looking at alternatives of doing what I loved and making an income from it. And so that’s what led me to writing my books instead of just talking about writing them, and starting on this amazing author journey that I am now on. And that has just been absolutely life changing.

Now, not everybody is going to be in the same boat. For some of you, you love your day job, and to be honest, that’s where I am right now. I’ve got a fantastic job this year. I’m really enjoying it. I don’t have anything negative to say about it at all. It’s fantastic. And some of you have taken up this writing journey knowing that you want to always have that other career or the other day job and that writing is purely a side-line for you or something that you do as that added extra to really give you that extra boost of joy in your life. And that’s all cool, because like I said, I think in one of my very first episodes, is that being really clear on your why you write, why you want to even step on to this path, is so important, but it’s going to be really different for all of us.

But what I do want to talk about today is how we can reframe our day job if we’re struggling with it, if we’re finding it really hard to incorporate the fact that we have a day job with this author career that we’re trying to build. Because I’ve been there and I know what it’s like to be stuck in that mindset where I need this job because I need the money and my books aren’t making money just yet. But, oh, I wish I had more time for writing, or I’m finding that the day job is holding me back in so many other ways and zapping my energy and just not bringing that good stuff so that when I do sit down to write, I’m not feeling as energized or as jazzed as I should be to really get that quality out there. And so I’ve been there. I’ve been there. When you’re in that double bind of you need the day job because you need the money, you’re doing the writing because that’s what really lights you up inside, but you still need the day job to even pay for the things like the editors and the cover design and all that good stuff as well. And so it can be really tricky to marry the fact that you’ve got these two careers or these two things taking up your time outside of any other responsibilities that you’ve got, like family or friends or anything else. You’ve got these two things that are competing for your energy, your time, and your focus.

Now, because this podcast is about supercharging your author life, a big part of that is around getting your mindset to a place where you are creating that ideal writers life that you see for yourself. Now, you might already have a plan in place with your day job and that in your mind you’re like, okay, well, I’m just going to stay at this job for the next couple of years until my writing takes off and then I’ll leave it behind. Sometimes that idea of being in your job for a couple of years can be a little bit daunting, particularly if it’s not a job that you particularly are enjoying, or if it’s a job that has a lot of overtime. And so it might be taking up some of your precious writing time or in some other way, it’s not meeting your needs. And of course, the first thing that anybody’s going to say, is maybe consider getting a different job. Consider finding something else that still pays the bills but gives you more time or gives you more flexibility or all the rest of it. But I also know what that’s like and that’s not always an option for everybody. Sometimes we find ourselves in really good paying jobs and we are nervous about the idea of changing positions into something that maybe doesn’t earn as much. Or we’re comfortable in our job. We know we can do it really easy, even if we dislike it. There’s a comfort to be found in what is familiar to us. There can be a million reasons why you need to stay in the day job that you’ve got right now. And so this is where reframing your mindset around your day job can really help because we all know that we cannot create those author careers or those writing lives that we really deserve and desire until we find those happy vibes and that good energy and that positive mindset, particularly, and this is so important, but particularly if you do have that desire within you that one day you want to be doing this, you want to be writing and selling your books and doing all these things full time as your primary career. Because I will tell you now, if you’re stuck in a job that you are maybe not enjoying as much, or is really getting you down and you’re suffering that Sundayitis, knowing that Monday, you’ve got to go back into this job and oh my gosh, then you’re not going to be bringing that to you. You’re not going to be manifesting that opportunity to be able to make a living from your writing. You’re just not, because your brain is so caught up on that negative. So this is where we need to get really clear on the benefits, those positives that your day job actually brings to your writing life. And so I’ve kind of got a list here, and not all of them are going to be relevant for everybody, but I’m hoping that you’ll be able to take away something that maybe starts to get you thinking a bit differently about your day job and how it can actually be of benefit to you while you’re working towards that goal. That intention, that milestone of being able to make a full-time author income out of your writing.

So one of the first things that you need to do when it comes to thinking about your day job, is you need to start to see it as an investment into your writing career and not as something that’s taking away from it. And for many of us, we can get stuck in that list of all the reasons why our day job is holding us back and taking away from these author careers and businesses and everything that we know that we could create. It’s easy to fall into those excuses of it takes up so much time. I would be able to write so much more if I didn’t have this job, or it’s so hard to stay out of the politics at work that I get caught in all the drama, and then that really drains me. And I find it really difficult to sit down and then start to write and be creative when that time comes. But there are ways that your day job is an investment, and these are some of them.

For starters, your day job is probably your primary source of income. And if you’ve been listening to this podcast before, or if you’ve been listening to any podcast or reading any articles or know anything about the author life, and particularly the indie author life, you need to have an income to sell your books. Being an indie author is definitely one of those self-employment opportunities that has a low outgoing at the very beginning. The expenses are not super high as they would be with starting any other business, but they’re still there. And if you want to do your indie author career any justice, you do need to spend some money. You do need to make some investments in yourself, whether it’s investments and courses, leveling up with your learning, finding out how to do things, or when it comes to the point of actually putting your books out there, you need to ensure that you have really great editors. That is so important to make sure that you have your book professionally edited and that costs money. You also need to make sure that you’ve got a professional cover designer. Some of you might be able to design your own covers and that’s great, but for the majority of us, we need to spend the money to get a professional to do it. And there are other things that you might need as well. There is software that you might need to invest in, such as Scrivener or Vellum for formatting your books. There are subscriptions that you might want that kind of help you along your author journey. For me, it’s things like Spotify. I know it’s a music platform, but I need Spotify to create those wonderful playlists that actually keep me in the zone of my book and bring that energy to me and that dopamine hit and everything that I need to keep focused on my story and moving it forward. Book Funnel and Story Origin are two other things that I spend money on and pay for newsletter swaps and book delivery. I also use Mailerlite, that’s the emailing system for my newsletters and everything like that. There are lots of these little things that do add up over time and so having a somewhat solid income is really beneficial to making sure that you’re set up in the best way possible to advance your author career. It also, particularly in the beginning stages, takes the financial pressure off having to depend upon your writing, so it allows you to really enjoy the process and allows you that time to spend on learning and fine tuning your craft. It keeps you from burnout, of feeling that you have to put out a book every month or some other ludicrous thing that you might otherwise feel that you need to do to ensure that you are bringing in the money that you need to, to pay the mortgage, pay the bills, live your normal everyday life.

So another way that your day job can actually be an asset to your author career is the people factor. So we know that being an indie author can be sometimes a bit of a lonely journey. For myself, actually, it’s not too bad because I’m a huge introvert and I’ve met so many amazing people through this podcast and chatting online and all those other opportunities that have come my way. But there is something to be said for those real people to people interactions that often happen in our day jobs. So jobs are funny things in that we often find ourselves surrounded by a mix of people, some that we adore and others that we might have some difficulty being around. So you need to think of this as great opportunities for storylines, for character building, for developing the empathy that you need to get into a character’s head. Not only that, but some of the dramas that can sometimes, and come on, let’s be honest, that often happen in our day jobs when you’ve got an eclectic mix of people put together, they can be really helpful in propagating ideas for your own books. Now, you don’t want to ever write a story that is very clearly something that’s happened in the office or happened at your day job. And you certainly don’t want to write caricatures of some of the people that you meet in your day job because you don’t want that to come back and bite your butt. But you can take some of these things that you are seeing and some of the experiences that you’re having and the people that you’re interacting with, and you can create these amazing hybrid characters or people for your books and use some of those ideas or snippets of conversation and that should really add some depth to your stories.

So the day job can be one way of staying connected and engaged with other people’s lives and people that you may not normally interact with. So people outside of your own circle. So it allows you a greater worldview of who are out there in the way that different people think and the way that different people see the world and interact with others. That is all such valuable fodder for your stories.

So one of these things to keep in mind is that if you find yourself an environment where there does happen to be a little bit of drama or office politics in some respects, you want to ensure that you’re removed from that because there is nothing more soul sucking than being involved in that kind of drama. And then when you do get home and you do get to the page, you just don’t have the mental or emotional fortitude to actually do anything, to actually write your story or engage in the novel or book or poem that you’re wanting to create. But being somewhat aware of the drama does have a few little benefits, particularly if you just can’t help it. It’s just around you. It’s just there. Because again, that gives you some plot, that gives you some real human emotions that you observe that you can bring into your stories. And so I found myself there before and my mantra was always, “Keep the drama on the page”, and that’s what you can do. You can be an observer of the drama whilst not taking it on yourself, but bringing it to the page. Because we all know that a good story is not a good story without any conflicts. You’ve got to have some kind of conflict or something happened. And so stealing from real life, it’s what all of us authors do. We steal from real life and then we fictionalize it for our stories, right? It gives us ideas, it gives us prompts, it allows us to get better into our characters minds. And so you can use that negative stuff for a positive purpose.

Now please don’t think that I’m advocating for you sticking in a day job where there’s a lot of dramas, or it really is just a bit of a toxic place to be in because I don’t advocate for that. I know sometimes circumstances mean that we can’t always remove ourselves from those situations, but if you can, that might just be the best thing for you, because being in a positive environment, being surrounded by positive people, is always going to allow us to be in a better head space ourselves, and probably even better fuel our ability to do justice to our work. But if you are one of the unfortunate few that do need to stick it out, regardless of the crazy that is maybe going on in your workplace, there can be another way that you can reframe the day job, because that crazy toxicity can actually be turned into the motivation that you need to get your button in the chair and to write your books and to get your books out in the world. Because if we’re finding our workspaces to be not such happy places, then we need to really ensure that outside of the day job, we are really filling that with as much positivity as possible, that we’re really spending that time taking that time to do those things that we enjoy, that bring us joy, that light us up inside. And for many of you, that’s going to be writing. And maybe you do what I do and you use it as the fuel to get more books out. You use it as the fuel to try and speed up your capacity to be able to leave your day job.

And so recently I’ve had a wonderful conversation with best-selling author, podcaster, manifestation, and book coach Carissa Andrews, and we talked about one of the best ways to ensure an author career with a fabulous income, is to ensure that you’ve got a really big backlist of books. And so use that time outside of your day job to really start to build that backlist, because that’s going to get you earning that money to replace your job much faster than coming home in a funk and sitting there eating Doritos on the sofa, watching TV. And I know it can be really hard if you’ve had a bit of a negative day or the day job’s brought you down, to feel that motivation. But you need to kind of push through that. You need to ensure that if your day job is that thing in your life that might be pulling you down a little bit, that you find things outside of that that really light you up. You need to get outside. You need to get exercise, spend time with friends, spend time with family, spend time with pets, read good books, listen to uplifting podcasts, do all those things and get writing.

Now, not all workplaces are toxic, thank God for that. Many of them aren’t, and that’s wonderful for us because they’re fantastic networking opportunities. Not everybody is going to feel comfortable doing this, but for many of you, there’s no reason why you can’t share your sideline with the people that you work with. For many of us, some of the people that we work with become our best friends because we just spend so much time with them. And so you share with them your passion projects. You share with them that you’re writing, you share with them your author journey. I mean, they could just become your biggest fans, and you never know how that’s going to play out. And I’ve had that wonderful experience before, too, where I’ve had people in my workplace share my books with other friends. Word of mouth is fantastic. It’s got me a lot more sales. They’ve shared my posts on social media. They’ve given me reviews. They’ve done all those really cool things supporting me. And so I am so grateful for those work colleagues and friends who were work colleagues who did that for me, who really helped to boost my author career in that way. And not only that, but everybody knows somebody. There’s the idea of six degrees of separation, and you just don’t know who that person that you work with, who they might be connected to. It might be somebody that you could interview as part of research for one of your novels that you’re writing. It might be a publisher. If you’re looking at going traditional or a cover designer or an editor or somebody that wants you on their podcast to promote your book. You just don’t know. And you don’t know until you start talking to people. These aren’t necessarily things that people will just share of their own accord. These are things that you need to start the conversation. You need to share a part of yourself with others and talk about this other life that you’re living outside of your day job. And you just don’t know what beautiful opportunities might come from that. And even more so if your day job happens to be somehow aligned with the publishing industry, it might be that you work in a bookstore or that you work in a library or schools or some other aspect of the book world. And of course, that’s just full of different opportunities. If you have your eyes open and not be afraid of putting yourself out there a little bit again, networking, making connections, selling yourself, there’s no reason why you have to hide this other aspect of your life.

Okay. Now, I know there are some circumstances where you actually, maybe you do. Maybe you write erotica, and it’s just not appropriate for you to talk about that when you’re a teacher in an elementary school. I get it. But I’m sure there are some people that you have good bonds with, some colleagues that you trust enough that you will share that with those opportunities are still there. You might also find that your day job offers professional opportunities. Learning. And it might allow you to go to different conferences, to undertake different types of learning and that, in things in no way related to writing but could be really, really useful as research for your books. So maybe you’re doing some professional development in something completely different, but you find that that’s the perfect occupation for one of your characters to have, and now you’ve got that really indepth knowledge about it.

Your commute, if you have a commute, can also be really, really useful time for your author life. Up until recently, I had a commute that was roughly 35 to 40 minutes, and it was out in the country and it was just me and my car. And to be honest, it was absolutely lovely. And I made use of that commute in so many different ways. I would listen to podcasts and uplevel my skills on the indie author world. So I’d listen to like, Joanna Penn, Mark Dawson, so many different podcasts, and I’d be learning all the time. I also used that time to put on my Spotify playlist to really get into my book while I’m driving. I could kind of get in the zone of thinking about what my characters were going to do next and how to get over those plot hurdles when they came up. If you’ve listened to some of my recent episodes, you also know that I use that time to do affirmations and to visualize what my author life and author career would look like as well. It’s not time wasted. You can really make use of that commute, and if you’re not driving, you could consider using that time for actual writing as well.

Other times you could use for writing, depending upon what your job is, you might find that you can get in a little bit of writing during lunch breaks or during real slow periods at work where you’re not really expected to do too much. You could really make use of that time. Not all industries are going to allow for that, but you might find that you are in one where that is a possibility. And if you’re like one of many of us who’ve had the opportunity to work from home, particularly during the pandemic, then that’s fantastic. I found that I had so many extra nuggets of time available to me for writing and research during those times that I was able to work from home.

Now, for some of us, our jobs are incredibly busy. Like, really busy. And I am in one of those day jobs at the moment where my day job doesn’t just end at the end of the day. It seems to filter in through evenings and weekends and holidays and everything, to be completely honest, and it’s not the perfect work life balance that I’d actually recommend. But there are positives to having that kind of busyness in your life. For starters, it gets you much better at prioritizing. It gets you much better at organizing your life to fit in those things that are really important to you. And there’s a saying that if you want something done, you give it to a busy person. And that’s absolutely true because there is a kind of time blindness that can happen where if we’re given a huge amount of time, then we will stretch whatever activity we’re doing out to fill that whole time. Whereas if we have short deadlines or any short spaces of time, we can surprise ourselves by meeting those same deadlines and maximizing that time, but just in a shorter period. It’s why so many people in the author world recommend that if you’re struggling to find time, you even just allow yourself ten minutes and you sit down and you set a timer and you say, right, I’m going to do ten minutes of focused writing and away you go. And because that’s all the time that you’ve got and you’re forcing yourself to do it, it’s going to get done. And it’s amazing how much we can also speed up our process the more that we practice this when we give ourselves those short periods of time, and when you’re a busy person, you really get good at maximizing those short expenses of time that we have available.

So what I really advocate for anybody who’s finding that sometimes their mindset can really struggle with how they can start to establish an author career around a day job is to make a list of the positives. And if you find that too hard, maybe start with making a list of the negatives and then turn them around. So just like I was saying before, I don’t like the people I work with, if that was one of your negatives, I don’t enjoy the people I work with and I find that they’re really bringing me down, you can turn that to a positive: The people I work with are fantastic fodder for my characters. I mean, that conflict, that villain psyche, the office kleptomaniac, the narcissistic boss. I mean, how they can make epic characters in my next novel or give me some character insights into the way that these type of people think, which will be really beneficial for my character building.

But if you can, make a list of the positives. What are the things that you enjoy about your job and how can you make them align with what you’re trying to achieve with your writing? How can you bring your day job into your writing life in some way? Whether it really is just observing people, interacting with other people, getting an idea of the way that other people live, or if it’s using networking opportunities or learning opportunities, nothing is wasted. And I do believe that we find ourselves in the places that we need to be at the right time. There is a reason that you are in the job, in the position that you are right now. There is also a reason why you’re not making that multi-six figure author income, particularly if you’re getting really hung up on all the reasons that you dislike your day job, or all the reasons that your day job keeps you trapped from really pushing yourself out there and achieving what you want to achieve with your writing life. So you need to find ways to reframe what the day job brings to your writing life so that you can start to be grateful for it.

Now, I’m big on list writing, but there’s another tip. Write a list of all the things that you are grateful for in your day job. Because when we’re grateful for something, the universe tends to give us more of those things. And the opposite is also true. So if we’re complaining all the time that our job is taking up all our time and we don’t have time to write, guess what? The universe is going to go right? I’m hearing that your job is taking all the time up, all your time, and you don’t have time to write, so I’m just going to throw more on your plate. But if you’re focusing on the people that I work with are so supportive of my writing career and are really behind me advocating for and sharing my books with other people, you’re going to get more of that. You’re going to attract more of that into your life. In the world of manifestation, we need to be really dependent upon changing our vibes, lifting our vibes, getting our energy in that happy space, being grateful for what we have. We may not be in the perfect life experience right now, but that doesn’t mean that we need to, or should even allow ourselves to be held back by that. If your writing life if your author career is important to you, you need to do these shifts in mindset. You need to think about how your job can be an investment to your author career. For the moment, it doesn’t have to be forever. And don’t get scared into that idea. But if I put too much positive vibes into this, maybe the universe will make me be stuck here forever. We are always evolving. If we’re keeping our vibes positive, we’re not going to get stuck anywhere. If we’re keeping our vibes positive, more and more positive things and little miracles and that are going to come our way. If we start to believe that our day job is actually making us better writers, is actually fast forwarding our opportunity to be fully self-employed as an author, then that’s what’s going to come into our world. That’s what’s going to come into being. That’s what we’re creating for ourselves.

So I really hope for those of you who are struggling with the idea of how you’re going to balance working on your books, creating an author career for yourself while juggling a day job, that you do start to try and think of those positives, those things that are beneficial to you. And there are other things. I mean, I’ve only given you a few different things, but maybe your day job requires you to be really creative, and it allows you a forum for getting your creative juices flowing, albeit in a completely different way than what you bring to your books. And that’s great, because turning those faucets of creativity on is fantastic in all areas of our lives. My day job at the moment allows me to do a lot of art, which is really cool. I get to do a lot of drawing and painting and all the rest of it, which is completely different than what it is to be writing on the page. But it still taps into that creative vibe that I’m wanting to bring to my stories. It still gets my creative juices flowing, and so there are great perks to that. Maybe your job allows for flexibility in other ways, allowing you extra time here and there to write. Maybe it’s simply that your job allows you to have a roof over your head, food in your fridge and gas in the car, whatever it is. How much harder would it be to try and create an author career for yourself if you didn’t have those things? So wherever we’re at with our writing, wherever we’re at with having a day job and whatever we think of our day job, just know that everything is working in your favor. If you allow yourself to see that everything is happening for a reason, everything is working in your favor. If you really desire and feel that an author career or writing life is meant for you, then this day job that you’re in, there’s a reason that you’re there. So find the good. Milk it for that good, take that good and use it. Use it to fuel and supercharge your writing life. Because you can do this. Change your mindset and you’re going to find that all those things, your deepest desires, all those things that you know you are put here on Earth to do, are on their way to you. You’ve got this.

So I hope you’ve enjoyed this episode and you’re ready to start thinking of your day job in a different light. Finding positives and negatives, keeping your energy, thoughts and feelings aligned with what you want to create really is Manifestation 101. And it doesn’t mean you need to suck up being in a less than fulfilling day job, it just means making the most of it while you’re there. Let it bolster your writing life and not pull it down. Because how much better would it be to enjoy your day job even as you make moves to leave it to write full-time, if that’s what you desire, instead of just wasting so much energy every week being pulled down by it or ruminating over all the ways it sucks and is holding you back from your author destiny? Because it’s not! Only you have the power to hold yourself back from creating an author life you love. We all come from different circumstances and enjoy different things. But the one thing we do have in common and complete control over is the thoughts that we allow ourselves to think and the feelings we allow ourselves to feel and the way we interact with the world. So if we want a thriving author career under whatever guise we want to grant, it is up to us to make it happen. And my own personal recommendation is always going to be to use all the tools at your disposal. Do the practical things. Write your book, edit, publish, market. But why not do those things on a more energetic level as well? Clarifying your why, being grateful and keeping your thoughts positive, what harm will they do? So give it a go and it might surprise you just how much more fun it can make the writing journey that you’re on.

So a few takeaways from today:

  1. To create your dream writing life, focus on being happy and positive. Now, regardless of your circumstances, manifesting something positive, like an abundant author career, requires an input of positive energy to match it. So get clear on the positive ways your day job impacts on your writing life.
  2. See your day job as an investment towards your writing career.
  3. Set aside some of your income from your day job to invest in your writing. For example, use it to finance professional edits and cover design, and be thankful for the income that your day job provides while you establish your author career.
  4. The opportunities a day job provides to interact with others you might not normally interact with can be considered character research and offer a valuable resource of story ideas and character traits that you can use later.
  5. Avoid being involved in workplace drama. Protect your energies, observe, but keep drama on the page.
  6. Ideally, ensure your day job is a positive place for you to spend your time. And if it’s not and you’re unable to leave right away, use it as motivation to get your books written. Whether it’s so you have something that fills your soul outside of your job, or write more with the intention to move towards your writing goals and dreams faster.
  7. Consider using your day job as a networking opportunity. Let your colleagues know about your writing and give them the opportunity to become your new biggest fans.
  8. Reframe professional development as research for potential characters, plotlines or backstories.
  9. Maximize your commute as valuable learning, research or writing time depending upon how you travel.
  10. Consider if there’s time during your work day where you can squeeze in more writing like during lunch breaks.
  11. Use your busyness as training to streamline tasks and get better organized over time. It may even increase your productivity.
  12. List the positives about your day job to keep your energy high and begin to train your mindset.
  13. Remember, no situation is wasted. Ask what does your day job bring to your writing life?
  14. Write a gratitude list to shift your energy whenever you’re feeling dragged down by your day job.

And as always, if you’ve enjoyed this episode, I’d be extremely grateful if you subscribed, rated, reviewed and told a friend. By doing so, you’re ensuring I’m able to keep making more episodes. And if you’d like more tips and tricks to manifest your dream author career, you can subscribe to my newsletter and download your free copy of Manifestation for Authors. Just go to www.subscribepage.com/manifestationforauthors.

Until next time, happy writing!