I really love what I do. Sure there are times when I want to throw the computer out the window or I want to go through and mass murder all of my characters because, for some reason, they won’t do as they are told…but in the end, I love writing. (no I’ve never mass murdered my characters but then I’ve never kicked the neighbors yappy dog either, but I’ve thought about it)
I know plenty of people who hate their jobs. My brother is a trained chef but he works at a greasy spoon. My sister wants to be a college professor but she runs a New York retail store in our home town. He is, of course looking for the greatest job ever and my sister divides all her time between the mall she works in and the University but let’s be honest, neither of them are currently happy…they want to do something else. I have never had that problem…I’ve always been a writer and I’ve always loved it. (Yes they sneer at me at family functions a lot)
I also know a lot of people who have no idea what “the job” looks like for them. They float from job to job trying to fit in somewhere. My dad spent most of his life like that until the last 15 years when he finally settled into a job that he could retire from. I’m pretty sure that the last job was still not “the job”. I also know a guy who spent most of his life working as a writer for newspapers and after a near death experience completely changed over to electrical work. I have to admit, over a beer one night I asked him what the heck he was thinking and his answer, “It’s something I always wanted to do; I just didn’t realize how much.”
Any job is a huge undertaking. It simply isn’t fair if it isn’t your passion. Writing is an even larger endeavor because not only are you investing your time but also your heart. Writing is such a personal experience that if it isn’t really what you want to do, you may well be draining the very essence out of yourself. So how do you know if you should be writing? I have developed a little test to help you answer that question. You are supposed to do what you are doing (and it doesn’t just apply to writing) if you:
- Have a general sense of enthusiasm and purpose – Do you want to hit the keyboard in the morning? Does the thought of writing make you feel all squishy inside?
- Feel deeply engaged in your writing –Does it take you forever to begin each morning? When you do, does it feel forced?
- Does your writing and the joy it brings spill over into other areas of your life- Do you find yourself wanting to share your stories? Do you find yourself excited enough to want to engage others in your ideas?
- Do you have to simplify your life because you want to spend more time doing what you love – Personally I steal time to write all the time. Heck I spent $700 on an iPad just so that I could write while sitting in the car waiting for my spouse at the grocery store. (Little old grocery store ladies scare me)
- You have better relationships because you are more positive because of your writing – We all have met people who are grumpy because they hate their jobs. My grandfather drove tractors for a living when I was little and he was so grumpy when he got home (and covered head to toe in dirt) that we kids were afraid of him. If your writing is making you mean…stop writing.
- You frequently experience the sense of being “in the flow” – Does your writing make you feel connected to the universe? I know that sounds all new agey but it happens. I know that when my writing is going particularly well I feel bigger than life and a sense of calm that nothing else brings.
- Even when you aren’t writing well, you enjoy the practice of it and the process of learning – We all have down times when the flow just isn’t there…if you can get through those times and still love the writing then you are where you should be.
There are a lot of people out there in the wrong jobs, with no passion for their work and life is way too short to be there. Ask yourself, should I be writing? If the answer is yes then, by all means, go with it…but if not look for the true passion in your life. There is no shame in changing what you do but there is plenty of shame in sticking with something you don’t want to do.
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