The look of awe I get from people when I describe what I do surprises me. “You mean you don’t have to wake up by 4am and rush out to some office? I envy you.” That’s the response I get when I tell people that I work mainly from home. Some even go ahead to say that they wish they had my kind of job. Really? I’m beyond shocked. And then there are those special people that always end conversations with, “Doyin you’re the one enjoying life oh. I want to be like you when I grow up.” I usually laugh at such statements. Sometimes I give the person a long lecture about what being a writer involves.
It is true that you have your time to yourself as a writer, especially if you are a full time one. Many choose to do it part time because the pay can make you weep sometimes. And if you have bills to pay, you definitely don’t want to be weeping every month. However, the fact that you have your time to yourself as a writer does not mean that everything is all green and rosy. No. No. No. In fact, I believe being a writer is one of the toughest jobs there is in the world.
Here’s a insight into the life of a writer:
You have a messed up sleep cycle
If you are a full time writer, you don’t follow the conventional time for sleeping. 10pm is not your ‘now it’s time to end the day’ moment. That is probably when you are planning to start work. I work better at night because everywhere is usually quiet. I stay up writing, planning content and doing research. If I am able to go to bed before 3am then I’m truly lucky. Most times I don’t go to bed until 4am. Unless someone is dying or I have a really important client meeting, you don’t expect me to be awake by 8am. So dear friends, when you call me at 9am and I am still sleeping, I am not enjoying, I am just getting my well deserved rest.
There are no off days or closing time
People with the conventional 9-5 jobs have the luxury of having days off work. Writers unfortunately don’t share in that luxury. Sometimes we tell ourselves that we are going on holiday and while we are doing just that, an inspiration for a story comes. A typical writer will never ignore that inspiration. They will go ahead to put that inspiration down into words. So you see, they are back to work even on holiday. Every minute we spend awake is used to work, Some even work in their sleep. I do.
Tons of books gets added to your reading list, few leave that list
I am yet to find a writer who is not an avid reader. We are fascinated by books and articles. A bookshop is sort of a haven for us. God help us if we have enough money to splurge on books that day. We will leave that bookstore with heaps of books. Buying books for us is like collecting antics. The problem however is that we never finish one book before we buy another book to add to our reading list. I have books that I bought three years ago that I haven’t read yet and I keep buying new books. It’s a never ending cycle which I’m yet to find a way out of.
You hardly ever get paid what you deserve
I think this is one of the hardest things about being a writer; getting people to pay you exactly what your work is worth. People don’t appreciate the mental energy that is required to come up with a fresh content idea and actually turn that idea into an article/ magazine/ post that will be an instant hit. I had a meeting with a very lovely client one day. After going on and on about the kind of content he wanted on his website, he said his budget was N20,000. N20,000 to put up two articles a day five days a week…that is beyond living a struggle life. Sadly I have come across too many people like him.
Your writing pad is your one true friend
Most writers are introverts. Many live a solitary life. I applaud those who have managed to keep a long list of friends. I truly admire them. The farther you go into your journey as a writer, the less social you become. I cannot explain why this happens. Lately, I’ve found going out and hanging out with people to be very stressful. I have cancelled many pre-planned dates because of the mental stress that the date will bring. I prefer to stay at home all day. So my writing pad has become my ever faithful friend. I write any and everything inside it. My writing pad does not judge me and it is eager for me to fill its empty pages with my words. Best of all, my writing pad serves as a source of inspiration when writer’s block comes knocking.
So you see…it’s not that much of a glamorous life 🙂