Writing, Passion, and Moonlighting

At what point is it more time-effective to just swallow the beans whole? Asking for a friend.

I’m always skeptical when Europeans try to school me on work-life balance or setting boundaries with career, but Thomas Maloney’s recent article on the benefits of moonlighting (or being a “bifurcator”) hit home for me.  Basically, Maloney sees his day job, apparently a lot more stable and reasonable than mine, as a “compromise”. I hear him on feeling like he’s burning the candle at both ends and in the middle.

Thomas Maloney writes books for adults… I guess that’s a thing… and works for a hedge fund in the land of paid maternity leave known as the UK. His employer’s concessions – part time, not firing him for having outside interests – blow my American mind.

Across the pond, in the ex-British colony that perhaps wasn’t ready to be left to its own devices…

Last night, I made the mistake of logging onto LinkedIn to find several tech CEO’s whinging about how they can’t find “young, hungry developers willing to work for free” for the sake of building up someone else’s company.  The painful, embarrassing conversation droned on to conclude that these passionate people are out there in droves, loving coding and believing in the CEO’s demagoguery, enough to forego a paycheck for now. Those are the people you need to build your company!

The problem, clearly, is their social reach / SEO and anemic network. Otherwise, they’d have this exact talent pool (rich in generational wealth and poor in self-respect) beating down their doors.

Good luck with that.

It’s not exactly unusual for authors to need other sources of income. I’m grateful for my “day job”, but everything has a place. At the end of the day, it will never be MY company. They can cut me loose in a second – and a former employer did not hesitate to do so when they learned I’d need major surgery.

In writing, I do work on spec… because I love it, and because if/when my books do turn a profit, it will be to benefit me and my family. Not some tech bro.

I go back to work this week, and many of the hitches in starting had to do with this very issue: “We want an on-demand, intelligent, passionate, and creative workforce… who never leverages these traits to their own benefit. Preferably, between contracts, they’re huddled in a ball crying till we call them back to work.”

No, nope, and bleep no.  Love yourself, love your writing, and hug your IP attorney.


Here’s one of the posts on LinkedIn.  It’s not that this CEO is a bad guy, he’s probably just more honest than most. But I prefer to think of myself as both “developer” and “entrepreneur” in the above. Grind for yourself, work out the bugs, drink a lot of energy drinks, work some more, and your publishing dreams will come true.

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