When times get tough, the tough get…writing

Life doesn’t always provide us with the opportunity to write the book we have dreamed of.

A number of people in our writing community have told us that they are taking time while they are unemployed from non-writing jobs to work on their writing. We applaud them. While there is nothing good about unemployment, there is a lot to be said for using the time to work on a novel or a non-fiction work or whatever the heart dictates.

It is a great way to keep the mind active and creates structure to the day. There will be something tangible – maybe an entire volume – to show for all that time and effort. Writing is a way to wear your unemployed status as a badge of honor since writers are almost all unemployed at one time or another – and yes, in some cases proud of it.

Below are some thoughts from unemployed writers:

One good thing over the last month, I have been writing. It’s incredibly rough and I’m making notes of what I think needs to be fixed as I’m going, which is more progress than I have made in literally years. I usually end up stalled before I reach ten pages. So it’s been a surprising success for myself. I’ll definitely be closing on 40 pages before the day is out. I did read through what I have written so far and it didn’t make me cringe, which was nice.

– Unemployed Writer

Many things have confused me about my first, supposedly surreal, week of unemployment. Because I’m now writing a book, I’ve rented an office at Green Desk in the Dumbo neighborhood of Brooklyn where, in exchange for a reasonable monthly fee, I receive an “environmentally responsible” desk and a “virtual office.” This I find particularly confusing, but again, not surreal, largely because I have written this article while seated at my very real desk in this clearly-not-virtual office.
– Theodore Ross

I've been laid off twice since the Great Recession began and I've gone from being a Jaguar-driving, gourmet-food-shopping, designer-clothes-wearing marketing executive to being a yoga-pants-wearing, discount-shopping, work-just-enough-to-buy-some-groceries at-home mom, writer and professor. I still consider myself unemployed — as I only work part-time in a new field — but I couldn't be happier.
No, seriously. Happy. And it took a dual kick in the butt of layoffs to do it.
In fact, I'm writing this confessional in my pajamas, while a lovely beef Stroganoff simmers on the stove, my toddler snuggles against my arm, the dog is serving as a warm footstool and "Sesame Street" characters merrily sing on my television screen.
If that doesn't scream "happily unemployed writer," then I know what does.                                                            – Lisa Henshall

Day 1 of Unemployment: Seeking meaningless tasks to fill my time. Stuck finger in power socket. REVISED: Seeking meaningless, PAINLESS tasks to fill my time.

– James Gilmore