My Dream Job

This morning, as I was eating breakfast, I realized I know what my dream job is. I even know where it is. In fact, if I wanted to, I could walk to and from my Dream Job’s location.

If you’re guessing that my Dream Job is writing and that I can walk to my writing desk, you would be partially correct. To write well is my Dream, but I do not want it to be my Job. The definition of ‘job,’ to me, involves doing things I don’t love in exchange for money. It is sitting in traffic, parking on the top deck of the garage, attending meetings, being bombarded by ten different conversations in a cube farm when I’m trying to concentrate, cleaning the  mess my co-workers leave behind them at the coffee bar, counting down until 5 on Friday. Don’t misunderstand: I have a great job. I work with awesome people, get to spend the majority of my time writing (technical stuff, but still, it’s writing!), and get paid fair compensation that comes with a kick-ass amount of PTO. I’m not bitching about my job. I’m simply saying that it is a Job because it is something I have to do in order to get by in life. It is not what I was born to do. It is not what I’m best at, or even what I love. It is simply a way to exchange my time and my intellect for money.

Money.

The crux of it all.

I love the idea of making money off of my book because that means people are buying it and, with any luck, reading what I’ve taken the time and care to create. What matters to me about a sale is that it represents a reader, that the story is being found by people who are meant to find it. The sale isn’t about the money, although I do charge. The reality is that my life is cost-driven; I have bills to pay, food to buy, and retirement plans to consider. At the very least,  I want to make back what I spent to produce the book because that’s money that came straight out of the Bank of Mr. and Mrs. Aniko. Vacation money. New counter money. Money for emergency vet visits. I can’t afford to give away my books. And that’s where things get weird. I need to make money, but I don’t want writing to ever have any aspect of job-ness to it. I want it to remain a pure act of creation, not driven by the money monster. I don’t ever want my writing to become my Job because then there will be unavoidable need to monetize my dream, to compromise, to do things because I need a payday.

Does this mean I would reject the opportunity to make tons of money off of my writing? No. What it means is that I’m not making the acquisition of money the focus of my writing. I am making writing the focus, the creation of worlds the focus, the telling of stories the focus. Foci! That’s a fun word: foci. Foci, foci, foci… focus! My goal is to write original, entertaining stories that are authentically mine. At this point, that means that I have no desire to seek out a publisher or agent, because I see those things as guarantors of compromise.  I don’t need to be rich, I don’t want to be famous, and I don’t need or want my writing to be my income. I’m not saying this to wave a pro-Indie banner from my parapet. I’m not saying this to be self-righteous or holier than thou towards those writers who wish to make writing synonymous with their income. I’m just saying how I, Aniko Carmean, feel about my writing and how I choose to view and manage the relationship of my writing to making money. I am happy for everyone who lands a publishing contract and for everyone who makes it big as an indie. I’m not happy with people who make it big and then turn their blogs into self-aggrandizing sales pitches or non-stop guest posts. But that’s a different topic…

What I would love is only have to work part-time to pay my bills. Then I would have more time to write, and would still be keeping the pressure of payday away from my art. At this stage in my financial lifecycle, I can’t even begin to consider part-time work, but I’m planning for it. I’m aligning my finances so that I can retire from full-time work. Not in the next year or two, but not too far from now, either. I hear some of you out there making those little tutt-tutt noises, those noises that indicate I can only choose to do that because I’ll be living off of Mr. Aniko, how lucky for me! Not true, ya’ll. Not that he wouldn’t do that and hasn’t already offered, either. The fact is, I want to be totally debt-free (including the mortgage), have a decent retirement fund being actively managed, and know that even if Mr. Aniko had to fly offworld and leave me behind, I could pay for everything I require and still not have to worry about my future, old-lady monetary needs. I want to help us build a stronger, more financially secure future where one or both of us could decide to work part-time and still have money to buy good food and comfortable shoes. I want that security, even if it means I have to wait a bit to pursue my Dream Job. Even if I have to put a price on my books – a fair price, but still a price. Even if it means that I keep writing in the pre-dawn dark, hours before I go to my Job. Write on the weekends, instead of hosting parties. Write when I’m tired, cold, or nervous about a meeting. It’s not easy to balance the writing with the working with the living.  But I do it because it is what I have to do. I work for money, but I write to live.

Even if, someday, my book sales are steady and make me money, I want to maintain a part-time job to keep the pressure of making ends meet off of my writing. If I have to have a Job, I may as well aim for my Dream Job. Which is, you ask?

To work part time at the liquor store down the street.

That’s it. I want to purvey oblivion. I want to stand between the cash register and the expensive or tiny bottles, the things that people would be tempted to steal. I want to have one of those cushy, gray mats under my feet. When the store is empty of customers, I want to be able to look at the rows of bottles and hear the hum of the cooler chilling the beer and the white wine. I want to use the hand truck to move around cases of Captain Morgan’s. I want to pour those teeny little plastic glasses at the taste-test station. I want to dust the glass bottles, all those different shapes and hues. I want to have a basket of limes and lemons, so that people don’t have to make a second stop to adorn their drinks. I want to work part time, get to know the regulars, be the first to hear about a new vodka, and spend the rest of my time writing.

What about you? Do you want your writing to be your living? Do you like the word foci?

Breaking News

Jonathan D. Allen reviewed Stolen Climates! I’m a huge fan of his writing and, because of that, feel a little bad about the whole breakfast burrito thing. Check out the review and, please, leave him a comment!

On May 7th, I’ll be interviewing Hunter Shea, author of Forest of Shadows and the forthcoming novel, Evil Eternal. Mark your calendars! The questions are fun, and there will be an excerpt from Evil Eternal.

And finally, but still totally rocking in awesomeness, I have been invited to participate in an Author Spotlight Interview over at Strange Amusements. Go live date for the interview is TBD, but I’ve got the questions, and they are wonderful! I’ll keep you posted.

XOXO,

-aniko

 

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11 thoughts on “My Dream Job

  1. Funny! I have a writer friend that wants to be a bartender. That would be a good job for a writer, eh?

    Me? I want to work in a coffee shop/book store. Not like Barnes and Nobles, with four stories of books and music, where the coffee shop is lost somewhere behind children’s books. I want equal parts book store and coffee shop. With really good Dutch pastries full of almond paste.

    Mostly, I just want the pastries.

    Like

    • You had me at ‘almond paste!’ Mmm. Seriously (or more so, anyhow!), I understand the desire to work in a coffee shop/bookstore. I love good coffee, I love good books, and there’s almost nothing better than combining them. Are there wine bar bookstores? That could be a pretty awesome combo. As long as they have those pastries, that is!

      Bartending wouldn’t be a good fit for me. I’m too introverted. It’s bizarre, I guess, because I’ll go through extremely extroverted phases that can last anywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of years, after which I revert to keeping to myself and being comfortable with that. It confuses people and probably wouldn’t be a good trait for a job requiring advanced socialization skills, not to mention conflict management.

      Thanks for leaving me a comment!

      Like

    • I know that no plans survive contact with reality, but no dreams can come to fruition without some sort of planning, desire, and tenacity. I do hope to realize this plan, or one that makes sense when I get There. Or should I say when I get “Then,” since this is more about a question of time, rather than place? Hmmm.

      Thanks for the comment & for declaring my writing ‘mighty fine!’

      Like

  2. I have a friend who said the best job she ever had was at Dunkin’ Donuts. Jody Foster said if she had to do it all again she would do something mindless, something repetitive, that did not require much thinking.
    I know what they mean.
    I love to write–but writing is tapping into yourself and your subconcious A LOT.
    I do not like to do that all the time.
    So I am with you Aniko.
    Part-time writer and part-time something else.
    Maybe receptionist at a spa.
    I love the way spas smell…

    Like

    • Writing can be so painful, Pen. Agreed. There is such delving, and so many atrocities you never even really knew you had access to lurking down in the subconscious. I need to unplug from my own creativity sometimes. I also find that distracting myself from the story I want to tell often has the reverse effect of making the story clearer to me. I find the part-time writer/part-time something else really attractive for that reason. That, and if my part-time something else pays, I can keep the bills separate from my art. Perhaps that won’t always matter to me, but at this stage, it is a primary consideration. If you were a receptionist at a spa, and I were a liquor store attendant, we would probably write really amazing stuff!

      Thanks for commenting!!

      Like

  3. I want to be a full-time writer. And I want to make a living off my craft. I’ve been reading “The War of Art.” Interesting. There are some things I really like and some things I’m kind of ho-hum about, but he addresses this very topic (in fact, it was the part I just read).

    For me, I’m just not happy doing much else. Although I can understand the mindless jobs option. Often they’re better than other jobs for writers because you are not taxing your brain when you need it for writing. Construction was great for this. It’s just hard on the body, and working someplace with winter is pretty hard. I’ve had many a cold morning where I couldn’t feel my fingers or feared sliding off an icy roof. Not good.

    Of course, even for me, working as a writer “full-time” with two kids would not really be full time. I just want more time than I have now, and there are limited options for making this happen without quitting my job. Alas, it’s not yet to be.

    Paul D. Dail
    http://www.pauldail.com- A horror writer’s not necessarily horrific blog

    Like

    • I’m going to have to check out The War of Art. I am glad you aren’t sliding around on icy roofs, not with a family. And not with all those stories you have yet to write locked away in your subconscious!

      I don’t necessarily need a mindless part-time job, but I do need one that requires little creative input. I found that writing software and then trying to write my novels was just taking too much out of the creativity bank. It was horrible and exhausting. Writing software tests is more like documenting something rather than creating something, and it’s been worlds different for me creative-energy wise since I changed jobs a few months ago. It is the best change I’ve made for my writing.

      The next best change will be getting to the point where I can work part-time…

      I hope that you get where you want to be, Paul, with respect to both money and time. When you do, I’ll pick you up something from my neighborhood liquor store! 🙂

      Like

  4. Here’s hoping you achieve your goals, Aniko!

    I agree with Penelope to an extent; one of the best jobs I’ve ever had was as a cinema usherette. That was quite good fun, especially when there weren’t many customers and I could sneak in and watch part of the film.

    I find that when I actually admit this people often look at me like I’m insane.

    By the way, I’m enjoying ‘Stolen Climates’ – just very. very slowly. My reading time is currently about five minutes before I go to sleep. A day job does indeed take it out of you!

    Like

    • I am glad you’re enjoying Stolen Climates! I understand making it through books slowly; my reading time sounds almost as limited as yours. I am about 50% through the book that was in line before I get to yours (The Quickening, for those who are curious!).

      One of my all-time favorite jobs was a dishwasher at the college cafeteria! It was simple in a Zen sort of way. Dirty dishes come in, clean ones go out.

      Thank you for the comment!

      Like

  5. Pingback: Write YourSelf into Abundance: Exercise « The Balanced Soul

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