Friday, November 27, 2020

5 Reasons to Be Thankful for Your Day Job

by Lori Hatcher @LoriHatcher2

In the early days of writing, I envied full-time authors. If I didn’t have to divide my time between my day job and writing, think how much more I’d accomplish. And how wonderful to have the freedom to write for days when the muse struck. No more getting up early, staying up late, and writing a hundred words at a time during my lunch hour. I could put in an eight-hour writing day and reserve my evenings for friends and family.

Now that I’ve entered my tenth year of writing while working part time as a dental hygienist (and full time as a pastor’s wife), I seldom envy my full-time writer colleagues. Instead, I embrace my divided work life. 

During a recent prayer time, I listed five reasons I’m thankful for my day job.

1. My day job provides a steady source of real-life material.
Although I always change the names and details before I insert one of my dental patients into my latest WIP, I never have to hunt for material. It comes to me every 45 minutes. As I listen to my patients’ joys, sorrows, and challenges, I witness a 4-D panorama of the world today. I can write with authenticity because my patients’ personalities and humor weave themselves into the fabric of my WIP.

2. My day job keeps me culturally relevant.
In our practice, we care for patients from age 3 to 103. I get up close and personal with people in all stages, cultures, and lifestyles. As we talk, I learn current vernacular and trends, observe the latest fashions, and collect invaluable details about life. I know how lawyers dress and act. I watch young moms deal with reluctant children. I have a legitimate reason to ask college students about their routines and lifestyles. When I write dialogue, all I have to do is reflect on a workplace conversation, and I nail it every time.

3. My day job limits my writing time.
Whaaat? Why would I feel thankful my day job cuts into my writing time? Because I know I can’t write on Wednesdays and Thursdays, I write more diligently on Mondays and Tuesdays. My limited writing time prompts me to guard my time like the precious gift it is. Working outside the home two days a week makes me less likely to say, “Sure, I can go thrift shopping with you tomorrow,” and more likely to say, “Could we go Saturday instead? Tomorrow’s my writing day.” I choose carefully how best to spend my limited hours. 

4. My day job provides an open door for ministry and book sales.
As I interact with my patients, I learn about their lives, and they learn about mine. Our conversation often includes matters of faith. Because they know I’m an author, they’ll ask me for updates on my latest book project. When a book finally launches, they feel as excited as I do. My kind boss’ permission to display and sell my books in the office gives me yet another opportunity to share my faith with my patients. Some have become my greatest fans, sharing my work with their friends and family and leaving 5-star reviews on Amazon. 

5. My day job provides a steady income.
Having a consistent outside source of income means I can be strategic about accepting the writing opportunities that come my way. Rather than doing everything because I need the income, I can select the projects that will best position me for success. When I’m on deadline with a book, I can focus on that. When I’m in between projects, I can say yes to freelance writing and editing projects that appeal to me and fit around my work schedule.

A 2018 Statista study revealed that while more than 45.8 thousand writers and authors work in the United States, only 21 percent of full-time published authors made one hundred percent of their income from books. This gives me great comfort. It tells me I’m not alone in my bi-polar employment life. Even those who write full time diversify. 

Time, experience, and two (soon to be three) traditionally published books have proven to me that authors can be successful because of their day jobs, not despite them. And if you’re one of the few who can write full time but don’t feel like you’re accomplishing enough, perhaps you need to get a part-time job (smile).

Now it’s your turn. Do you have a day job, or do you write full time? What benefits have you discovered from your job that positively impact your writing life? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.


Lori Hatcher loves God even more than she loves chocolate—and that’s a lot. Since He rescued her at age 18, she’s been on a relentless journey to know and love Him more. Her deepest desire is for her reader friends to join her on the journey. As an author, blogger, and women’s ministry speaker, she writes for Our Daily Bread, Guideposts, Revive Our Hearts, and She’s written three devotional books, including Refresh Your Faith, Uncommon Devotions from Every Book of the Bible, and Hungry for God…Starving for Time, Five-Minute Devotions for Busy Women. Connect with her at or on Facebook, Twitter(@lorihatcher2) or Pinterest (Hungry for God).


  1. Lori,

    Thanks for these terrific reasons to keep your day job. There is a list of bestselling well-known authors who kept their day jobs throughout their writing career. I know writing full-time sounds like a good idea but you give a lot of great reasons to keep writing no matter what situation you have. I have always had a day job (and still do as an editor at a New York publisher). It is something I tell many times to new authors, "Don't quit your day job."

    author of 10 Publishing Myths, Insights Every Author Needs to Succeed

    1. Terry,
      As a prolific multi-tasking author yourself, your Amen to my observations adds weight and credibility. I hope one day to be as prolific as you've been in your career! Thanks for chiming in today.

  2. Thank you for this post. I am also very grateful for my day job (though I struggled with thankfulness when I didn’t realize I had gotten out of balance with freelance work, my WIP, and my day job). I see a variety of people almost daily, have a handful of regulars with whom I’ve developed nice acquaintances, and in the slow time, I’m allowed to bring my laptop to fill the quiet hours. I’ve struggled with the dream of writing full-time, but, after being furloughed for 2 1/2 months due to Covid closures when I could write full-time, I realized I needed more human contact and inspiration than my regular grocery trip. God is gracious and he knows what we need is better for us than what we sometimes want!

    1. Yes, Felicia, as I tell my fellow writers often, "You need to live life to be able to write about it." Our outside jobs give us excellent fodder for our over-active imaginations (smile). Write on!

  3. Wonderful post, as always, Ms. Lori. I too treasure my being bi-vocational, even in retirement. My little ranch is the source of a majority of my blog posts, and it is certainly the classroom God is using to teach me His many lessons and inspire my Christian writing. Please allow me to take just a moment to express my condolences to the Melson family at the sudden loss of their dear Ms. Katie. My family is praying for peace and comfort for each of you.

    1. Oh my, J.D., please don't ever quit your work on the ranch. Where would we be without our weekly tales from the CrossDubya? You're a perfect example of how God uses our day jobs to inspire and bless those around us.

  4. You are fortunate indeed. Lori, but especially for point number two. During my childhood, I noticed my mom actually got more work done around the house when she worked at a part-time job away from home.

    1. You know the old saying, Roberta, "If you need something done, ask a busy person." I know I"m less likely to waste time when it's such a scarce commodity. Blessings on your writing life!