We start the week off with a little encouragement because, well….this week I kind of need it myself. We all do from time to time but then there are those other “times” when someone, somewhere, has hit you below the writer’s belt and you get to feeling a little…well…insecure. That’s me today…insecure central.
I have three sons and a daughter. The sons are 30, 24 and 18. As many of you know, my daughter is almost 12. Needless to say, at this point the 30 year old is the easiest on us…he’s out on his own, doing his own thing and generally making his life work for himself. The 18 year old is doing fairly well. He just graduated from high school, has a job and is looking towards college. Our daughter? Well she’s a tweener so you fill in the blanks…. You may have noticed that I skipped right over that 24 year old…right now…he’s the chore child…the one making things difficult for the sake of just plain doing so. He’s a part of that entitled generation, those kids who think that because we gave birth to them, we somehow owe them the life they envision for themselves. No work contributed by them of course…but I digress…..
So why do I bring this particular child up? Because over the weekend he announced, rather ceremoniously I might add, that I had been wasting my life as a writer and that, because of this, he hadn’t gotten all of the “things” he felt he was due in life. He went on to say that many of his friends had parents with “real jobs” and that they had been better off…why, he asked…couldn’t I have been “normal”. Keep in mind that I have made a living from writing. Granted I haven’t made a zillion dollars, but I have kept a roof over our heads and the lights on. That wasn’t his point though…he felt that since I was a “writer” we should have had more. His expectations were obviously set pretty high.
His rant, although rude and way out of line, still stung. I went to bed wondering if I had failed somehow, feeling like I had let one of my boys down. I hardly slept because of it, in fact. Should I have chosen another profession? Did I owe my kids something different? Then, at 4 a.m. this morning, it hit me…what I owed my kids was to be myself and to provide for them while doing that. I owed them a roof, food and a nightlight…what I didn’t own them was an excuse as to why I am a writer.
Often times our children have a different view of what life for them should have been. Trust me, as they get older, especially with this generation, it tends to get worse as they begin their own families. (My 24 year old has two kids and one on the way…needless to say his decision making leaves a lot to be desired) But just because their view is different, it doesn’t mean that we should have to make excuses for becoming writers. One of the things that chaps my donkey is that writers are often put into the position of having to justify what they do for a living. Gardeners, electricians, hell even the garbage guy doesn’t have to do that. Yet, we writers have to explain, justify, quantify and prove that our choice to be who we are was a good one. It sucks.
So your mission this week fellow writers is this…somewhere on your computer, desk, in your work area, hell, on the fridge…post a sign that simply states, “I am a writer and I’m okay with that”. And if you have a family member who is giving you a hard time about what you do, tell them to get a life. Your choice to be a writer was your own and that is that. So remember, you are a writer, no excuses…not now, not ever.
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