Bethany Maines drinks from an arsenic mug

In Defense of the Day Job

A Day Job? Really?

I know a lot of writer’s for whom the dream is to ditch the day job and become a Stay-At-Home-Writer.  It would be lovely to be solely supporting myself on my writing. But that’s not financial reality for most writers and I would argue that it shouldn’t be.  I think the day job, while being a pain in the tuchus, also gives something valuable to the writer.

It Keeps Us From Going Feral

First there is the emotional and mental well-being that comes with being forced to rub elbows with the weirdos out there.  Like having kids, having a job, means that we are forced to get along with the wider community. It rubs some of the rough edges off.  Staying home means that we come to live very much in our own bubble in terms of information intake and who we talk to. Finding a wider network of people to interact with is an asset for learning to write more diverse characters who think and speak in different ways.

It Provides Ideas

The second value, I see for having a job is related to information intake.  As a writer, I never know where I’m going to find an idea.  Which can be frustrating if I’m supposed to come up with an idea RIGHT NOW.  However, what I’ve learned over the years, is that ideas exist in every field and it only benefits me to talk to people. An AV owner who travels the state setting up for concerts, conferences, and private parties? Expensive parties and rock bands – how could there not be an idea there?  A conference for estate planners?  Turns out there are about 100 murder plots just littering the tax code if you can manage to stay awake long enough to find them.  The front desk staff at a hotel? Oh, don’t get me started on the amazing slice of humanity that traipse in front of them.  But would I know about any of these ideas without my day job?  No!


So if you’re a writer appreciate your job and if you know a writer then help them out by making them talk to you. Know that you’re only helping that little cardigan wearing introvert out by providing them fodder for a novel and keeping them sane. They’ll thank you for it.  Or kill you off in their next novel. Whichever comes first.



Bethany Maines is the award-winning author of action-adventure and fantasy tales that focus on women who know when to apply lipstick and when to apply a foot to someone’s hind end. She participates in many activities including swearing, karate, art, and yelling at the news. She can usually be found chasing after her daughter, or glued to the computer working on her next novel (or screenplay). You can also catch up with her on TwitterFacebookInstagram, and BookBub.


5 replies
  1. Gay Yellen
    Gay Yellen says:

    I love this post, Bethany. I’ve used past experiences from my “day jobs” in my mysteries, too. Working with other people takes you into a world of a myriad of different personalities and situations you couldn’t possibly dream up by yourself.

  2. Lois Winston
    Lois Winston says:

    Bethany, until a few years ago, I juggled two day jobs along with my writing, but I haven’t gone into an office other than my home office for many years, even before Covid. However, one job involved some travel throughout the year, and the other involved hopping the train into NYC for periodic meetings. I’m now retired from both of those jobs, but I continue to tap into them for source material–from the comfort of my home office. I also find that eavesdropping can be a writer’s best friend when it comes to creating unique characters and interesting scenes. You never know what you’ll hear while standing in line at the supermarket checkout counter! 😉

  3. Donnell Ann Bell
    Donnell Ann Bell says:

    Love it! Especially keeps us from going feral. Truth be told I wrote MORE when I had a day job. Hmmm, Bethany, right now I feel like I have six jobs but you may have started something! Thanks for an interesting post.

  4. Debra H. Goldstein
    Debra H. Goldstein says:

    Agree that the day job offered idea benefits, but now that I’m not in that arena, I try to pull ideas from other places and contacts I’m making. One thing that I miss from the day job days was how it forced me to be precise with time. My organization and speed have dropped knowing I have “all the time in the world,” except when a deadline looms.

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