First of all, speaking of not being dead, today is the anniversary of my friend SkoHoe’s birth. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, HOE!!! Ok, I think I’ve now wished her a happy birthday on gchat, facebook, blog and two twitter accounts. She’s covered.
Now, wha’ ha’ happened was that I was either completely busy or completely brain dead for several (very good) days. Honestly, I’m still recovering, but I didn’t want to neglect you fine folks any longer. I also wanted to share with you a tidbit of wisdom I’ve been picking up over the last couple of weeks. And this can be applied to anyone, even if it’s not writing that you love.
If you and I have ever had a conversation about what you do for a living and whether or not you really love it, you will be well aware that I encourage everyone to follow their dreams and passions, no matter how crazy they are or how seemingly impossible it would be to make a living out of them. I just truly believe that we are not meant to spend such huge chunks of our lives doing things that make us feel like cubicle zombies or pawns in some sick corporate game. And I’ll say this now for anyone who wants a kick in the pants: If your job makes you feel dead inside, please quit today.
You also may already know that there are two (lucrative) things I really love doing: teaching and writing. And bless my soul, I am lucky enough to get to do both. (I also love sleeping and chatting online, of course, but I hardly think those are worth pursuing as career paths.) I’m in the last few weeks of working for Wake Tech’s ESL department, though, before I run off to Italy to write for three months, and I’m in transition all around.
I’m not teaching any more (I’m just doing registration), but I’m writing a LOT. And I’m getting paid for it, which is great, but writing as a hobby and writing as a job are two very different things. I don’t love it any less now that I’m getting paid for it. It’s just that it’s not as leisurely.
When you do what you love as a hobby, you can do it whenever you feel like it and have the time. Sometimes you carve out time for it because you just love it so much that you don’t feel normal unless you’re doing it, and sometimes you feel very strongly that you must do it or you’ll explode. And it is for that reason that I always have a pen and paper with me.
But when you aren’t inspired, when you just have nothing to say, or when you’re busy and/or brain dead for four days, you don’t have to work on a hobby. Nobody really cares.
When someone’s paying you to write, though, you have to write. You have to write for hours and hours, and sometimes you have to just sit and stare at the blank screen, willing the words to type themselves because you have no idea what to say. You have to force yourself to do it just like you have to force yourself to get out of bed when the alarm goes off in the morning because it is your job. And as nice as hobbies are, they don’t make your loan payments for you.
Like I said, I don’t love it any less. I’m just working on building up the stamina it requires to write this much every day and the speed required to do the amount of work I have. And I’m getting there. I’m working on a bunch of articles for this website, and in the beginning, one article took me two or three days to do from start to finish. I can do one now in three to five hours, depending on the topic. I just have to get used to doing them every day.
So here’s my wisdom/advice: Keep following your dreams even if, when you catch up to them, they punch you in the neck and run off again. They’re just trying to toughen you up so you’ll be able to keep up as they get even bigger and better.