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Underearners Anonymous???

Reader Pat sent me this link to a Wall Street Journal article about — of all things, Underearners Anonymous. Seriously:

Can’t earn enough dough to pay the rent? A tiny but growing fellowship of New Yorkers might suggest that the problem isn’t the economy. The problem is you. You may have a disease—a compulsive addiction to low-paying work. And they have a 12-step program to help you recover: Underearners Anonymous.

At a recent meeting, two-dozen men and women gathered in a windowless, rented room, squeezing themselves into a tight circle around a faded oriental carpet. After saying a prayer and introducing themselves (“Hello, my name is Mary, and I’m an underearner”), they discussed the symptoms of their condition: frittering away time, undercharging for services and neglecting to follow through on new opportunities. Moreover, they say they’re powerless to control these destructive, compulsive behaviors. They need help from a higher power that can restore them to sanity.

“Jean” (I’ve changed names in this column to protect members’ anonymity) has a typical story. She’s attractive, ridiculously articulate and has a master’s degree from Columbia. When she “hit bottom,” the 30-something writer was earning $10,000 a year doing freelance work and falling behind on the rent. Her solution? She applied for a job at Staples.

Sounds crazy, but for Jean, minimum-wage jobs served a purpose that she had yet to admit to herself: They came with few expectations and responsibilities. “I didn’t want to be controlled,” she says. The price, of course, was poverty. Now, she says, she’s earning 10 times her old pay and has launched an acting career, but it’s been an arduous journey. “The underearner doesn’t want to do the work required to make their life better,” she says. “UA gives you the willingness.”

Pat sent the piece with an indignant snort. If we got “cured” in the way UA advocates, she noted, we freedomistas would “… learn how to stop chasing gulches and start enjoying paying taxes.”

Yeah. True. Very true, Pat.

C’mon. Underearning, as disease? Get real. I’d bet that the typical “underearner” in New York City is really more like an “overpayer,” and the cure would be getting the hell out of that overpriced rabbit warren. Get yourself to someplace where you can afford to “fritter time” and learn to love the leisure instead of feeling guilty about it.

Yet ironically, Pat sent the article just as I was grappling with my own earning-a-living issues and coming to the realization that I need about $400 more a month to get by (given the care and feeding my new-old house requires). Four hundred might not sound like a lot to some, but since my income for the last few years has hovered around $650 a month (sometimes more with a little help from my friends, some scary times, less), $400 is not just a significant sum; it requires a whole different philosophy.

Although I initially adopted low-earning as part of a freedom strategy (see Atlas Shrugged if that doesn’t make sense), it really has become a habit — one I can no longer afford. Since selling Cabin Sweet Cabin last year, I’ve had a little extra to get by on, and it’s been a pleasant change. But that can’t last. Now I have a mortgage (albeit a small one, paid directly to the sellers) and a house that needs bottom-to-top fixup, and it’s time to get moving. Ah, but how?

I was never wildly ambitious, and although I can work hard when I have to or when I’m deeply engrossed in something, I’ve never aimed to be a Stakhanovite. After three years in the fast-lane in my 20s, I exited the income freeway and have been happily meandering the backroads ever since.

Now, I have mixed feelings about earning more money. Like “Jean” in the WSJ article, I don’t want to be controlled. I don’t want to paint a big, red target on my back for taxers by earning more than the basics, either. I don’t want to contribute any more than I must to a society whose institutions (especially its political and financial institutions) are corrupt to the core. I’m also lazy. I like to sit by the fire with my dogs. Take long walks. Think my own thoughts.

When I do consider earning more money — this is sort of embarrassing, and again, a lot like “Jean” — I tend to think in terms of a promising career in pizza delivery, rather than boosting my writing, art, or other things that demand skill and brainpower.

So right now, I’m definitely doing some grappling. I don’t regret buying the house; I love it. But it’s forcing changes and prompting me to think about priorities — which hurts my brain.

I can grok what those New Yorkers in Underearners Anonymous are going through. But do I have a disease? Holy cats. The only disease I have when it comes to earning money is IRSophobia. And of course I suffer from the plagues that all Americans (and many others around the world) share — Bureaucritis and the infamous Resource-Eating Bacteria of the Federal Reserve.

Those diseases are becoming so endemic that I know several highly skilled perpetual overachievers who are considering taking up the underearner’s life.

Be that as it may, if you need a reliable writer (who can handle anything from corporate communications to features to ghost-writing of books) — or you’re seeking a reliable deliverer of pizzas — you know where to find me.

26 Comments

  1. Pat
    Pat December 13, 2010 6:46 am

    And when I sent that, Claire, I was wondering if you might need to leave the “less is better” concept in order to maintain your new house.

    I’m in the same situation, and suspect many are who read this blog. We’ve gotten so far on our own initiative, and so desperately want to “do our own thing”, but the economy is — dare I say, *deliberately?* — set up to make it hard or impossible.

    Many have families they’re responsible for; others need secondary skills which might take too long to learn (while they go homeless); still others are getting older and _can’t_ work any more, or won’t be hired if they did apply; and there are those who might compromise or endanger themselves by taking even a simple job. (E.g., you’d want to find a pizza shop that allowed you to carry a gun. Are there any out there now?)

    “Get yourself to someplace where you can afford to “fritter time” and learn to love the leisure instead of feeling guilty about it.”

    But there’s no “affording” about it. I moved to a small town and now have the time to “fritter” (better than Twitter), but don’t because I’m too busy trying to learn other skills fast enough to stay alive. And, too, I still feel guilty because the work ethic was so deeply engrained that I feel I SHOULD be doing more.

    One thing life has taught me (too late) is: NEVER become a “one-skill wonder.” Jack-of-all-trades is the only way to go. The emphasis on college degrees is BS. Better to know how to take care of yourself in practical situations than to rely on a fancy piece of paper that no one wants to hire.

  2. Matt
    Matt December 13, 2010 7:11 am

    I understand your concerns. When I mentioned to co-workers that I really didn’t need extra income, or work for a promotion that would provide more income and “status”, their brains shorted out. I need the money I earn, but don’t need to go grabbing for more. I have never taken a job because it made more money or a promotion because of status. I won’t either.

    It’s not just avoiding the taxers, and yes I’m on the cusp of falling into punitive taxation. Sorry, I tried to underachieve, but it didn’t work out. It is also about avoiding all the people in my life, various family members, friends etc that seem to think that since I am blessed with a good job that I should subsidize all or them. No more. I’ll still give generously to those in need, that truly brings me joy.

  3. Julie
    Julie December 13, 2010 7:22 am

    Perhaps adding an amazon link would help? Or a paypal tip jar?

  4. Claire
    Claire December 13, 2010 8:37 am

    Pat, I hear ya on both the guilt feelings and the need to develop alternative skills. And thanks again for sending that article. I really gave me a lot to think about.

    Matt, good on you, both for your integrity and your refusal to subsidize “entitlement” folks. I know that underachieving isn’t for everybody, and certainly has no inherent virtue. 🙂 I also know I’ve received remarkable and blessed help from “overachievers” over the years. I just hope I’ve returned value to them.

    Julie, good idea. In fact, later this week I plan to include something like that as part of a Christmas giving post (with links to several worthy outfits). Amazon and PayPal links will never bring in much for a blog of this size, and can’t be counted on for regular income. But they do help. I should note that BHM pays me for writing this blog. The pay is based on one entry a week. I would like to supplement that, but I’m fortunate to get any money for blogging and would have to make sure I have Dave Duffy’s okay before blegging on my own behalf.

  5. Kent McManigal
    Kent McManigal December 13, 2010 8:40 am

    I hope no one in my family sees that article. Their suspicions about me would be confirmed.

  6. naturegirl
    naturegirl December 13, 2010 9:36 am

    Ok, this is so me….LOL

    I wouldn’t call it a disease, either….it’s control, it’s avoiding being like “the others”….for as long as possible….

    The answer is to try and do your own thing, a self business, and add to your income as needed and still have a certain amount of freedom…..if you work for others, even to deliver pizzas, then you will dance to their song at the expense of yours….

    And some things will have to be traded away in order to maintain that……

    I think maybe the attitude adjustments have to come from deciding YOUR OWN worth and maybe charging (or charging more) – past cases where maybe it was a first reaction to not do that…..it’s amazing that so many self business types give away abilities that they should be charging for, it’s a “too nice of a personality” flaw more than anything….. 😉

  7. Scott
    Scott December 13, 2010 10:21 am

    Pat has it right-become a jack of all trades. This will help on your house as well. Put off what you can until the place is paid off,and learn to do things yourself where ever practical. Expect to make mistakes, sometimes big ones. The best lessons I’ve had usually involved big mistakes.
    I made the same mistake Matt did-subsidizing(money, food,transportation) some family that really needed to just get up off their ginormous posteriors(and stop drinking up all their money). I don’t mind at all helping those that I feel need it, but I’m far more selective now.

  8. Claire
    Claire December 13, 2010 11:40 am

    naturegirl — I couldn’t agree more on a “self business.” I’ve done that most of my life. The good parts of that are as you say — but the negative parts are also as you say. Creative types (especially female ones) charge too little for their work, in general. And I’ve definitely had that problem forever. My corporate clients used to have to raise my rates (often with earnest little lectures about how my work was the best, but if I wanted to be taken seriously I had to charge more serious rates). These days, my rates are almost entirely set by my publishers, so to a certain extent, what I earn is out of my hands. They all treat me fairly, but they’re also on tight budgets.

    If I could get one without complications, a part-time job would be somewhat of a relief, though.

  9. Big Wooly
    Big Wooly December 13, 2010 12:43 pm

    As much as I love reading you here, as well as the rest of the Backwoodshome site, could you fulfill your obligation to Dave for one post a week and strike out on your own with another blog/website? Even though there are quite a few “Freedomista” sites out there, your expertise as well as your notoriety would lend an enormous boost to that endeavor. So much of your writings and articles are scattered all over the web and I’m sure there would be value in reviewing other sites as well as books, articles, videos…
    I’m sure the pay structure has changed a lot since your last site and I know you must have gathered a much larger audience as well.
    I’m sure we would all look forward to it. Please think about it.

  10. naturegirl
    naturegirl December 13, 2010 2:39 pm

    Claire, definitely agree with you, and I have no answer as to why us women have that bad tendency either…..and it’s scary to have your entire financial means in your own hands, too…..

    But in following alot of the others’ advice, I’d see if you can expand your talents before you cave in and work some where else…..maybe look at the art/jewelry aspects, or something else that you love to do and are special at & take that/those to a higher level…….no matter if you have a part time or full time job with another employer, it always seems to conflict sometimes with your own projects and seems to be “more important or urgent” (which isn’t fair to your self business)……

    Aside from your own blog or website, maybe you could give classes or seminars or move into consulting of some sort…..and that would apply to all areas you’re talented in…..

    Some of us women not only underestimate our actual financial worth but also our “contribution worth” 🙂

  11. naturegirl
    naturegirl December 13, 2010 2:45 pm

    P.S. to that, some advice I was given one time, so simple and yet so often not even considered:

    You have to decide what’s important, how you are important. If you decide you/it’s important, then others will agree with you. But you have to make it important FIRST.

  12. Jake MacGregor
    Jake MacGregor December 13, 2010 2:53 pm

    Claire

    I’d gladly pay, and I bet others would too, for a home-school freedom course that you design. Incorporate your own and others writings, websites, etc.

    You have a great voice (listened to the radio post the other day) and could create audio to go with the course

    I can not think of anything more valuable than helping teens explore freedom in this way

    best

    Jake

  13. George Potter
    George Potter December 13, 2010 5:11 pm

    Wonderful thoughts on the subject Claire. I suppose I was born and raised to be an ‘under-earner’, from a long line of under-earners. I prefer bartering to cash, pride myself on eating the best food (fresh, homegrown/raised, etc.) rather than the more expensive packaged junk, will always put on a sweater before turning up the heat, etc. My dad told me, years ago, that the dfirst (and most important) step to self-sufficiency is to reduce your needs to the bare-minimum. That’s also the way to afford (and enjoy!) your luxuries. 🙂

    PS: I hate to use your blog as a shout-out box, but:

    Pat! I’ve lost your mailing addy and I have a book to send you! For some reason, your email keeps bouncing back to me. Please contact me at: doorintosummer@gmail.com

    Thanks! 🙂

  14. George Potter
    George Potter December 13, 2010 5:28 pm

    One more thing on the article:

    Did none of them, ‘Jean’ herself included, not think that a job at Staples would provide ideas and material to a writer? Experience, employment included, is far more than a paycheck.

  15. Pat
    Pat December 13, 2010 5:32 pm

    George, That’s because I’ve moved, and changed everything.
    Check your email shortly.

    Good to hear from you.

  16. A.G.
    A.G. December 13, 2010 6:29 pm

    Delivering pizzas during tight times is something of a family tradition on this end of the keyboard. Just make sure you are setting aside an auto maintenance fund. It will make up the difference, and you will be alone with your thoughts much of the time. Even when around co-workers, as many may not have any to spare (although I met some cool folks).
    I never had a problem with crime, but didn’t work shifty areas. Using mace is not a firing offense, esp for a petite female. My wife keeps a Spyderco clipped inside her skirt at the 11 o’clock position and has trained in Janich techniques.

  17. Kent McManigal
    Kent McManigal December 13, 2010 9:30 pm

    I had to come back to this tonight because today my “paying” writing job was pissing me off to the point I was ready to say “screw it” and walk away. Then I paused and wondered if, once again, I was making sure to keep “under-earning” (although the job pays so little I could easily earn way over 10 times more and not fear losing that distinction).

  18. Ellendra
    Ellendra December 13, 2010 9:37 pm

    “Creative types (especially female ones) charge too little for their work, in general.”

    Count me as one of those.

    But there was another type of underearner mentioned, the one who excitedly started businesses, then got bored when those businesses started to make it. In the last few weeks I’ve come to recognize that I have that tendency, too. Right now I have a sewing business that I run out of a corner of the living room, and more projects than I can keep up with, but for some reason I find myself dreading the sewing machine. It has become “work”, no matter how much I love it.

    Any ideas for dealing with this sort of “paying-hobby burnout”?

  19. naturegirl
    naturegirl December 14, 2010 1:53 am

    Maybe, Ellendra, some of this might help….not only did that happen to me, but it happened to the whole bunch of us who had created our craft type group-business, at nearly the same time…(ie: no one left with the energy to spark a revival)……

    I know we always hear how to make a business work, but not always do we hear how to handle success….info is geared to overcoming all the roadblocks, but little is there to handle it growing in overwhelming numbers……it’s an avalanche when you are on your own!

    Aside from the obvious “hire a helper” response, it still doesn’t help you out with how you are feeling about your paying-hobby……I remember spending 20 hours for 6-7 days a week for almost 2 years trying to keep up with it, until one day I realized that I had the same amount of power (and obligation to myself) to turn down requests as I did to go out and generate them….It’s ok to say no, sometimes, or to space it out longer (“Sorry, I am booked solid until January. Would you still be interested in *item* then?”) – no one ever turned that down, much to my amazement…….Once you are comfortable with saying/doing that, you can control how much time you’re spending on it & really, deep down, it’s the time and the deadline that’s making you dread it……Also, if you have been doing it for a long time, as it sounds, then you have a good idea of how long each project will take and can plan that with your time accordingly….You can choose to do however many projects a week, for example, and limit the “seemingly overtaking your life” part of it, at least….

    The joy of being creative in whatever artistic ability you have, is being able to set the deadline time….not many careers are like that, but this is….Altho, I should warn you, saying you are booked up generally starts a bigger desire to have your stuff – people always jump on the demand bandwagon if they think you are in demand 😉

    But don’t fear saying no, or asking for a later delivery date, and then pace yourself to where you aren’t in dread every time you go near the sewing machine…..It works better than you think it would, and you can still make money 🙂

  20. MamaLiberty
    MamaLiberty December 14, 2010 1:05 pm

    I’ve turned a number of home hobbies into small businesses. I’ve had a lot of the problems mentioned here, especially being afraid to ask for what things were really worth.

    A big problem is, of course, the regulations and taxes one has to struggle with. I had a 700 sq. ft. greenhouse many years ago. I started to raise house plants and when I had extras the nursery didn’t want, I began to offer them as rentals to doctor’s offices and so forth. It took off like a race horse and soon I needed help.

    When I looked into the costs for insurance and taxes, I realized that I couldn’t begin to afford to hire anyone and was afraid anyone I hired “under the table” would eventually turn on me. The risk just wasn’t worth it to me. (and this was in 1975!) I finally just raised my own stuff and sold a few things to the nurseries around me when I could. The person I was going to hire took over the “rentals” and did ok for quite a while because she had a large family of adults to help her.

    Much more recently, I wrote a course outline for a stress management seminar, based on my teaching background, the incredible results of my own stress management program, and the success of many others in the same field from whom I learned it.

    I started talking about it to various friends and businesses. They scared the heck out of me with their enthusiastic response!! If I actually advertised it, I’m afraid I’d be overwhelmed in no time and back to needing to hire help. YIKES! I have so far chickened out and never offered it except to select individuals on a one to one basis.

    As a certified handgun and self defense instructor, I’ve had similar scares. The few times I’ve advertised, I’ve been very quickly over committed. Handing out cards at gun shows and shops, or to people who engage me in conversation about my sidearm gives me all the “business” I can handle most of the time. (And sometimes I hide for a month or two – especially in the winter.)

    I’m retired, for goodness sake! I don’t want or need a full time job. And leaving full time work in the insane world of Medicare, etc. was a major factor in controlling my stress. Not going to trade peace and joy for that nuttiness ever again.

    So, I don’t know what to suggest, Claire. Maybe write more, ask more for it when you do, make stuff you like at your own pace and get as much for it as you can? I wish I knew.

    Good luck. I know you will find it if you look. 🙂

  21. Claire
    Claire December 14, 2010 1:07 pm

    “Any ideas for dealing with this sort of ‘paying-hobby burnout’?”

    Ellendra — I like what naturegirl has to say.

    Nearly everybody who writes or does art for a living is, in a sense, pursuing a “paying hobby” — even once the hobby has become a career. But the fun does go out of it when it’s done for somebody else, to their specs.

    Are you dreading the sewing machine simply because it means work? Or are there other, related burdens (e.g. dreading making something for another person because you fear they might be dissatisfied with the result)? In that case, might it be possible to do the same work, but not on commission (e.g. make things to your own specs and put them on eBay or Etsy)? Of course, that has pitfalls, too. Nice to have the guaranteed $$ of a commission.

    Another thought: Is there a way that you can separate the hobby aspect from the work aspect? For instance, I’ve written before about a woman I knew long ago who was a very talented artist, but refused to do her “real” work on commission for anybody. She earned money by doing architectural drawings, and kept her painting strictly for herself.

    Are you really bored with success? Or are you just bored — with routine, or long hours, or whatever?

  22. Claire
    Claire December 14, 2010 1:17 pm

    Jake MacGregor — I would love to see somebody do that! A John Taylor Gatto, perhaps. Or a really skilled homeschooling parent. I don’t think I have a teacher’s skills. And I know I don’t have the skills of an entrepreneur or marketer. It’s an excellent idea, though.

    Big Wooly — I think I would/could only do that if I had some specific purpose in mind that just didn’t fit on a BHM blog. Dave & company have been really good to me and have never tried to limit what I can say or do here.

    Also, there’s really very little $$ support for online writings of any sort, and especially political noisemaking writings like mine. I’m not complaining about that. People have always given me tremendous support & encouragement (the recent book sale was a huge example). But nobody wants to pay for what they can get for free. And putting content behind a paywall hasn’t worked for anybody. So although I know some people have made money online (including some notable YouTubers), I don’t know what I have to offer online that would earn money. And I also come back to the fact that I don’t have self-marketing skills or the ego needed to promote myself.

  23. Claire
    Claire December 14, 2010 1:30 pm

    “I suppose I was born and raised to be an ‘under-earner’, from a long line of under-earners. I prefer bartering to cash, pride myself on eating the best food (fresh, homegrown/raised, etc.) rather than the more expensive packaged junk, will always put on a sweater before turning up the heat, etc. My dad told me, years ago, that the first (and most important) step to self-sufficiency is to reduce your needs to the bare-minimum. That’s also the way to afford (and enjoy!) your luxuries. :)”

    Good stuff, George. Good points.

    Makes me recall that I grew up with some opposite messages to the ones you got. There was never any emphasis on self-sufficiency, and due to the “issues” of one family member, the rest of us got the unmistakable message that “scrimping” and bargain-hunting were what damnfools did. There was never the slightest sense that being frugal could lead to a richer life. It took me a long time to learn anything about frugality, and even now I’m best at being frugal when circumstances simply force me to be. Relatively speaking, I’ve become a frugalista — but that didn’t come naturally or easily.

    I did discover a long time ago that when I have very little money (and also very little debt and few obligations), I’m often very happy. I feel unburdened during those times.

    But now I’ve put myself in a position where my $$ obligations have about doubled — or perhaps more than that. I don’t regret it. It was time for this change. But I do find, to my chagrin, that I’ve developed a sort of “poverty consciousness” in the last 15 years or so. Emotionally, I don’t believe I can make money, or perhaps don’t believe I deserve to. Intellectually, I see the pitfalls of making money — from more taxes to more temptations.

    Now I have to make more money. It’s just a fact. But the “how do I do it?” question feels complicated beyond the mere mechanics of the matter.

  24. naturegirl
    naturegirl December 14, 2010 2:21 pm

    Great advice MamaLiberty, and alot of Oh Yeahs in there too, hehe….

    80% of my life has been poverty line or lower, with a short burst of 6 figures due to an inheritance – that was the worst time of my life….having money in any great quantities is a constant worry, argument, and destructive….being challenged to come up with money on a regular basis always kept me on my toes (not lazy and continuously thinking)….

    But then, not everyone can handle living on the edge of disaster all the time….

    In the current economy it’s hard to find money anywhere, by yourself or thru another company; so I’d be inclined to say whatever way you can find it (and are comfortable with doing) is the way to go get it….

  25. Ellendra
    Ellendra December 14, 2010 9:52 pm

    “Are you really bored with success? Or are you just bored — with routine, or long hours, or whatever?”

    I think maybe I just hate doing something I “have to”. My brain knows that I love sewing, but that childish little corner of me is going “nuh-uh, you can’t make me!”

    Most of my current projects don’t have deadlines right now. I actually work better with deadlines, but I’m also working a regular (albeit seasonal) job, and didn’t want to risk running out of time, so I’ve been turning down projects that involved deadlines until after the season slows down.

    Compounding this is the fact that every time I turn around my sewing machine is being used as a clutter storage space, I have to spend at least half an hour un-burying it to use it, and suddenly, gee, that new novel looks much more appealing . . .

    It’s a discipline thing, I know.

  26. George Potter
    George Potter December 15, 2010 1:20 am

    “Makes me recall that I grew up with some opposite messages to the ones you got. There was never any emphasis on self-sufficiency, and due to the “issues” of one family member, the rest of us got the unmistakable message that “scrimping” and bargain-hunting were what damnfools did. There was never the slightest sense that being frugal could lead to a richer life. It took me a long time to learn anything about frugality, and even now I’m best at being frugal when circumstances simply force me to be. Relatively speaking, I’ve become a frugalista — but that didn’t come naturally or easily.”

    If anything, that actually makes your frugality an actual achievement. You’ve managed to overcome the lessons of your earliest childhood — what R.A.H. called ‘canalized thinking’ — and adopt a viewpoint that both makes your life easier and better suits your temperament. I think a lot of the misery in our world comes from people living lifestyles that their hearts and souls do not enjoy, but their minds and experiences have convinced them are necessary. I know several ‘burn-the-candle-at-both-ends’ workaholics. A few of them THRIVE on that lifestyle: they truly enjoy it, accept it as a challenge, and are totally committed to their labors as a purpose giving activity. But I also know several who are — and have been for quite some time — burned out and sick of the whole damn situation. They keep at it because they’ve been convinced that it’s the responsible thing to do, or because they’re trying to make a better life for their spouse and children — never realizing that a ‘better life’ doesn’t depend on a six figure salary and will never happen when they themselves are burned out, depressed and continually exhausted.

    “I did discover a long time ago that when I have very little money (and also very little debt and few obligations), I’m often very happy. I feel unburdened during those times.”

    I know the feeling well. And I think it’s mainly because in such a situation, you have so much more control of your life…and so much more choice in what you do with your TIME – the most precious resource of all.

    “But now I’ve put myself in a position where my $$ obligations have about doubled — or perhaps more than that. I don’t regret it. It was time for this change. But I do find, to my chagrin, that I’ve developed a sort of “poverty consciousness” in the last 15 years or so. Emotionally, I don’t believe I can make money, or perhaps don’t believe I deserve to. Intellectually, I see the pitfalls of making money — from more taxes to more temptations.

    Now I have to make more money. It’s just a fact. But the “how do I do it?” question feels complicated beyond the mere mechanics of the matter.”

    Yeah, it’s a dilemma. But you know what? I think a part time pizza delivery job could very well cover that extra need, with just two or three shifts per week. There’s no shame in it and — as I said before — such employment is a wonderful source of inspiration for a writer. I STILL, to this day, miss that little night-shift truckstop job. The work itself was dreary, but the strange and wonderful and awful people I met, and the amazing stories I heard more than made up for it. 🙂

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