Should I Quit My Day Job To Pursue A Technical Writing Career?

Perhaps it's simply the allure of avoiding the morning commute, or maybe it's the many websites out there that insist making a living as a writer is a piece of cake. For whatever reason, there are more people than ever before who want to quit their jobs to work from home as technical writers Before you make the big plunge, however, it's important to ask yourself a few essential questions:

Do I have enough work?

If you have yet to actually get a technical writing gig, it's way too soon to start thinking about quitting your job. Before you launch into full-time writing, you should already be somewhat established. Be sure you have work coming in from more than one client (work from a single client can easily disappear overnight). You should also have additional potential clients already in mind. If you already have a few clients who are giving you steady work, and you feel confident you can easily add a few more to fill in the holes in your schedule, you might just be ready to make the transition.

Do I have enough money?

Even if you're making a decent living on the side as a technical writer, it's important to realize that this income is in no way guaranteed. During your first year or two, and even later on in your career, there may be weeks or even months that you don't make any money. Before you make the transition, be sure you have some money put aside to see you through the hard times. Most experts recommend having at least six months of living expenses in the bank.

Can I do this full-time?

You may love picking away at your technical writing projects in the evenings or on weekends, but you have to really ask yourself whether you could realistically work as a technical writer on a full-time basis. The projects will become monotonous at times, and since they will be your only source of income, you'll have to be able to force yourself to get them done. If you feel like 40 hours a week researching and writing about technical subjects might be too much, you should probably reconsider leaving your full-time career.

Do I have support?

Before you make the final decision to quit your day job, it's important to make sure that you have the full support of those closest to you. Does your husband understand that you won't be able to clean the house, cook meals, and do the laundry every day because you're home? Is your wife ok with the fact that there may be some lean times during the first year? Do your kids realize that they can't just barge into your office any time they want? It's crucial to lay down some ground rules and be certain everybody is okay with your decision and will do their best to help you succeed. Otherwise, even the best plans will probably fall apart.


Last Updated: 05/05/2014