Working for a living.

I have many sayings in life, but one of my favorites is this:

No 18-year-old knows what they want to do for the rest of their life.

I recognize that there are always going to be exceptions to the rule. But, generally speaking, expecting a fresh-out-of-high-school college freshman to choose a major -- and therefore decide what they want to be when they grow up -- is an awful lot to ask.

I was one of those rare ones who knew from about the age of fifteen what I wanted to be when I grew up: I wanted to be a writer. Specifically, a fiction novelist. I wanted to follow in the footsteps of my hero, Stephen King -- and make a living writing and telling stories.

A noble goal, to be sure. But, because I was only 18 and completely clueless, I didn't have the foggiest idea how to make that happen. I didn't know where to find the resources that could help me. Plus, an English degree didn't seem super...well, practical. I looked at the profession of "writing" on a spectrum: on one end I saw a starving artist, and on the other end I saw a successful businessperson. There really wasn't a lot of in-between, at least in my naive, inexperienced head. I couldn't stomach the idea of being a starving artist; I had places to go and things to do which required a steady paycheck. So I opted for a major that positioned me better for a successful career in business, but would also let me write: Journalism. With a minor in Business.

I can't say that I have many regrets. The career I've built in corporate marketing and communications has been good to me, for the most part: steadily growing, allowing me to have a house, a car, two kids, and a life. That's the American dream, right?

But. I'll be damned if that original dream of mine ever went away. Several times over the years I would be overwhelmed by the desire to write...only to have life get in the way again. I even took the GRE and applied for 6 or 7 MFA programs at one point (denied by all, back to real life). Looking back, I guess the universe decided I wasn't ready to dive into writing yet.

Turns out I had a bunch more life to live first.

In the middle of yet another existential crisis last fall, I had a revelation: if I'm not finding my current career fulfilling, why in the hell would I not pursue this lifelong dream of mine? What's the point of having a bucket list item if I'm not going to work toward it?

I took a class titled "Write a Short Story in Six Weeks," and I was done. I dusted off all my old short stories and hamstrung attempts at manuscripts, and I STARTED WRITING. And I haven't stopped. The first manuscript is written and I'm currently shopping it. The second book is underway. I'm making ever-so-slow progress toward my goal of publishing a novel. I'm basically working two jobs right now: one that makes me sublimely happy, and one that pays the bills.

Another of my favorite sayings: Do what you love, and you'll never work a day in your life.

And that, ladies and gents, is my ultimate goal. Make a living doing what I love: writing and telling stories. And never working a day in my life. Is that really so much to ask?


Comments

  1. I came here because I saw your ticked off Twitter post. I’m not sure if things have changed much over the past few years but my blogspot blog got almost no engagement but my Wordpress blog grows at a steady pace. If you’re not getting readership it might be worth switching platforms.

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