The Writer Survives Unemployment

At some point in every writer’s life, you consider quitting your job to pursue your art. Talent will pay the bills, you think. But reason eventually catches up with you and you drag yourself back to the 9-to-5.

Except for that one time you don’t. That morning you realize that it’s time to go for it — to take the leap.

I didn’t originally plan to be unemployed, though. I certainly didn’t think I was quitting my part-time gigs and moving halfway across the country to sit at home and write. But I’ve been here, job hunting, for four weeks now. Four weeks of sleeping in, watching Netflix while writing cover letters and waiting until late afternoon to put on pants and shower starts to get boring. I’ve started to doubt myself and my choices.

As much as we like to talk about how we all hate our jobs, they give us meaning and structure our lives. We have an answer when people ask, “What do you do for a living?” But you don’t need it to have a purpose.

So, I’m writing. I’m writing a lot. Not because I think I can sell it (although that would be great) and I’m not giving up on the job search, but because it gives me purpose. That’s the secret, I think, to surviving unemployment. You have to give yourself something to do. Whether it’s working with your hands or an intellectual challenge, it’s important to have a driving force beyond your Instant Queue.

Soon, I’ll be back at a desk job somewhere, working for a paycheck. But for now, I have an opportunity — to spend some time away from regular work and just be a writer. I’m living the dream.

— 30 —

Jonny Eberle is a writer for hire. You can browse his credentials on LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter.

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