And I’m sure that, like me, all of them had “those days” when they wished the myth of writers padding around home in their pj’s and sipping coffee were true. The rest of the world just longs for winning the lottery or retirement on the chaotic days. Writers wish their stories would actually fill the void. We don’t want “nothing.” Our brains are too full of stories, settings, and characters. We want time to release them into the world, and wish the financial compensation would follow.
I recently started listening to a lecture from The Great Courses on The Life and Writings of C.S. Lewis, and the professor said that Lewis didn’t behave like a typical writer. I laughed at that. What is a typical writer? The writer’s I know are just like everybody else. They have a life, family, home and job, and their writing is one more thing they do. The only way they’re different is that they write instead of going out to lunch, or watching TV, or hanging out with friends. They choose to spend their “free time” differently so they can create. I don’t see where it makes them different from others, and we certainly aren’t “highbrow,” because nobody regards even the best writers as well as they do actors or musicians, for example. On the plus side, they don’t regard us with the contempt of politicians or some of those said celebrities either, but still – my point is that we’re still normal people. Only a rare few are elevated beyond that status in rare cases of a best seller, and that’s usually a recognition that burns out all too fast. Which is alright, because writer’s don’t write to become famous. We write because we love stories, and want to contribute our own to readers who can enjoy them as much as we enjoy creating and reading the stories of others.
Of course, I have to be honest and say that we all go in hoping to break the norm. We secretly hope that we’ll be the one to break the mold, and be able to forsake that day job to live the dream that so many people believe is reality for writers. We want it to pay the bills and to save us from the aggravations of everyday life. It doesn’t take long for us to learn that reality doesn’t bend for us, and those with dreams of book signings, magazine covers, and TV appearances burn out quickly. The rest of us learn that money is piss-poor motivation to do anything, and come face to face with the true reason to be a writer: because the love of stories is part of our soul that we can’t deny. We also learn to see how it interweaves with every other aspect of life to create something far more than we could have imagined.
I think it’s good that I’m the writer that I am. I would have lost a great deal if I had quit my day job to become a writer. I would have lost just as much if I said “forget it” to writing when I fully realized that the writer I was destined to be wasn’t exactly what I had in mind at the start. I wouldn’t have started writing when I did if I comprehended the fact that I would leave my “day job” at retirement, and not a day before. It would have been too discouraging to me back then. I probably would have picked it up eventually, but I’d be far behind where I am, and probably would have missed tremendous opportunities to get into ebooks when I did (which really was perfect timing, market-wise). Yes, it’s a lot of work and tiring at times, but the joy I feel outweighs it all. My life is too incredible with too many fantastic people and experiences to close my eyes to half of what I am.
Still, there are those days when that old dream pricks at me (like today), and I have to remind myself that I really am better off. It’s ok. I’ll see more clearly tomorrow, and I’ll always be who I am, whether it’s a good day or not.
That’s all today. Take care, and have a great rest of the week.