Writing is like no other career

My messy deskWalking from the kitchen where I had just had breakfast to my office (OK, it’s a bedroom with an alcove for a desk), a thought struck me: writing is like no other job I’ve ever had.

A quick explanation of my past: 5 years developing software at a telecom research company, 10 years at IBM in both technology and sales roles, 14 years in consulting (so now you’re getting the idea of how old experienced I am). And now, 6 plus years writing. So here’s my list of why writing is such a different occupation:

  • NO ONE GIVES YOU A JOB DESCRIPTION – except all the writers who’ve written books on writing and the professors who teach writing, everyone of them with something different to say
  • NO ONE REVIEWS YOUR JOB PERFORMANCE – except thousands (wouldn’t that be nice) of readers, none of whom have met you
  • NO ONE MONITORS YOUR WORK – except that little voice in your head or occasionally, if you are lucky enough to get a publisher, an editor who sets deadlines for each of an incredible number of revisions
  • YOU HAVE NO COLLEAGUES – no one to bitch to, no one to go for coffee with, no one to discuss difficult problems with
  • YOU HAVE NO BOSS – many would say this is a good thing but in my experience bosses can help set direction, clarify priorities, help you see the big picture or negotiate the politics
  • YOU HAVE NO SUBORDINATES – which means no one who seeks your guidance or to whom you can delegate
  • YOU RECEIVE NO REGULAR INCOME – in fact you can work for years and earn nothing, zip, zero, nada
  • YOU HAVE NO BENEFITS – forget pension, there isn’t even a medical plan
  • YOU REGULARLY DISCARD YOUR WORK PRODUCT – who else would put hours and hours into a small paragraph and later delete it?
  • YOU AGONIZE OVER COMMAS, ADVERBS, WORDS IN GENERAL – writing in many other careers only has to be ‘good enough’
  • IT NEVER MATTERS WHAT YOU WEAR TO WORK – even pyjamas are acceptable

That’s my list, what’s on yours?

Oh, and by the way, I LOVE WRITING!

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M.K. Tod writes historical fiction and blogs about all aspects of the genre at A Writer of History. Her latest novel, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE is set in WWI France and is available from Amazon, NookKoboGoogle Play and iTunes. Her debut novel, UNRAVELLED: Two wars. Two affairs. One marriage. is also available from these retailers.

Mary can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.