Day-jobs aren't cool in the writing world, are they? Writers aren't supposed to like their day-jobs, since, obviously, no one who had any viable alternatives would actually want to write for a "living." Day-jobs are the things that get in the way of having uninterrupted writing time. The things we give up when we become bestsellers and look back on with revulsion and the relief born of escape.
Well, my day-job isn't like that.
I've loved reading since I was a tiny little thing and first discovered the wonderful lives I could live between the covers of books. I was that kid who checked out a pile of books from the library every single week. Who stayed up reading well past bed-time. Who never went anywhere without a book, just in case things got dull.
I'm still like that, come to think of it.
But that's not all I am.
At the age of 4, I told my mother to "Stop treating me like I'm 2." In second grade, I about broke down and cried when my teacher, on the first day of school, set us the task of copying sentences off the board. I've always been drawn to characters (like the girl in The Westing Game) who become lawyers or who argue effectively. I've never wanted things to be too easy. I've never wanted to be treated like I'm dumb (even when I am).
I embraced drama growing up and, my senior year, I was the Speech and Drama Sterling Scholar at my high school. Freshman year of college I gave a talk over Christmas in my home church congregation and took about three times longer than my allotment. A lawyer who heard it suggested I should be one. I scoffed. Why would I want to be a lawyer? (At that point, four more years of school was about all I could think about.)
By the time I got married, though, I'd changed my mind. I was going to law school. I took the LSAT. I applied. I was accepted. I started with one baby and graduated with two.
While I was there, I learned to love the law. Reading the cases. Writing about applications. Arguing in class, in mock courtrooms, and in competitions. Trial prep and all that jazz. I published a case note on the juvenile death penalty and learned that I could write really long things--and enjoy it. Fun. Fun. Fun.
I now have a law job. I write fiction at night. I read whenever I can. I'm blessed with a terrific boss and colleagues who also love to read. I still love to argue. Love to say things like "I'm off to court" and "I'm with a client" and "objection" and "your honor." Take guilty pleasure in the foolish way people assume I'm not-dumb if I let slip that I'm a lawyer.
So why do I want to write? To publish? To start a second career? Because I've loved books longer. I love books better. And because, unless lightning strikes and I win the bestseller lottery, I'll never have to choose between the two.
But also because, if I ever do make enough writing to quit my day-job, I'm hoping I'll get to spend more time helping raise my kids. Because I love my family best of all.
So do you have a day-job? Do you hate it? Love it? Plan to leave it as soon as possible?