Friday, November 5, 2010

The Writer Question, Revisited

I'm struggling with a massive cold/flu bug right now, so this might be muddled, but I need to get this out of my system. I even recently wrote to Hope Clark of Funds For Writers for her insight and opinion on the subject. She may be featuring this situation in her next newsletter, so if you're visiting from there - welcome!

Here's the skinny:

By day, I'm an educated paralegal (meaning, I have a degree and everything!). Well, I should qualify that - I've been unemployed since early April. I'm an Intellectual Property Paralegal (patents, trademarks, etc.), and let me tell you, the jobs in this field are few and far between. I've had some great interviews, but nothing has come to fruition. Here's the rub - I recently had a potential employer, I assume - Google my name, and find my personal website promoting my writing. Upon seeing my website, they decided that my "focus" was not on my legal career, but on my writing career.

While I completely understand their position, if they had truly read at any of the pages they would have seen that I've only published a few short stories (and self-published at that), and haven't even finished writing my first novel!  As I told Hope, unless you see my face plastered on a bestseller in a major bookstore, I still need a J.O.B. to survive! AND - I'm a darned good paralegal too! I loved my job, and I love learning all aspects of the legal world. If anything, my interest in writing makes me a better paralegal!

I like to think that I dodged a major bullet with that particular employer. I don't think I want to work with a firm that doesn't allow for outside creativity, or even hobbies for that matter. It's not like I'm selling porn, or even writing in the erotica genre (no offense to those that do btw). I don't even use swear words in my books. Well, not many...

This situation makes my job search even more discouraging, because now I have to worry that my "web presence" will overshadow my need for a regular income, and a regular job. I'm a single mother, and I have a son with special needs. Once the unemployment runs out, which it tends to do, we'll be in even more financial trouble than we already are. That's pretty darned scary.

Can you tell I've discovered adding pictures to the blog? :)
I refuse to give up on my dream of writing. It's in my bones. But my need for a job is eclipsing those dreams at the moment. Do I keep up my web presence as a writer? Just say "screw you- this is who I am"? Or take it down and stifle my creativity in lieu of a regular income?

Decisions, decisions... and oh yeah, more stress!!

Take care,


  1. I'm guessing Smucker's was a one-off for a decision like that. Yeah, there's no way they really read your webpage, to make the choice they did. And there's no way you want to work anywhere that frowns on creativity and a life outside the job. You can't, with Josh.

    Feel better, my friend. We have a date to sing next weekend!

  2. No, it wasn't Smucker's that said this. I never did get real feedback for that one other than they went with another candidate. It was a big (I'll leave unnamed) firm in Cleveland that was going to interview me, but then I guess saw my website and changed their mind.

    Looking forward to singing next weekend - if I have a voice left after this flu! :)

  3. I really think it was the employer Amy. I had trouble too..they gave me that really dumb reason after 3 interviews - and this was 6-7 years ago. I would say, leave the site's part of who YOU are. You are a writer...just as I am a poker player..but those are not our jobs. They are just part of who we are. Just as a job..once just a job...not a part of who we are (unless we are doing what we love..LOL)

  4. I was just stunned by your letter to Hope. Does that firm think their employees should not have a life outside the firm or have an interest in anything not related to it? Perhaps a college admissions person should explain to them the whole "well-rounded individual" concept. Some of their employees are likely immersed in some hobby or another just as deeply as you are in your writing. That was crazy; you definitely dodged a bullet, as you said.