Years ago, I had a reporter call and ask, “If you could have any job in the world, what would it be?” The only answer I had was, “I’d just keep on being a writer.” Since it was Career Day, the reporter wrote an article in which he posed that question to dozens of people. As one person chose a career, he would call someone with that job and ask what they wanted to be. So a teacher wanted to be a doctor, a doctor wanted to be an astronaut, an astronaut wanted to be a senator, and the senator wanted to be: me.
I’ve always loved that. As an author, I’ve got the greatest job in the world.
First of all, I can write in my pajamas. I don’t have to get up in the morning and shave.
In fact, I can keep my laptop by the side of the bed and write from bed, if I want.
On my average day, I don’t have to spend an hour getting up to dress properly, nor do I have to worry about my commute.
I rarely have to concern myself with office politics, so my stress levels are low.
I get to schedule my own work hours and my own vacations. Guess what? Because I love what I do, I got up at 4:00 A.M. to start the day, and I will work as long as I like without my boss whining about how I put in too much overtime.
I can work anywhere in the world. In the past I’ve gone to Cabo San Lucas to focus on a project. My favorite place is to write on the beach, just as the sun is coming up on a perfectly still morning. But I’ve also had good writing days in mountain cabins, in busy airports, and even while relaxing in a coffee shop.
And I make good money as a writer. When my daughter Danielle was twelve, she came home from school one day and asked tearfully, “Are you a drug dealer?” I told her no. She knew I was a writer. But she said, “Well, that’s what everyone says.” Apparently my new neighbors felt that I had no visible means of support, that I spent too much time sun-bathing in the middle of the day (usually by 2:00 P.M. I’m ready for a break), and that I wasn’t smart enough to be a hedge-fund manager.
To be honest, I often feel bad for those poor folks who aren’t writers, folks stuck in dead-end jobs. I was on Facebook earlier today and saw that one friend had been “made redundant” at his school in England, another had found himself in the same crappy job for 14 years and had never been able to get ahead, since his managers felt that his health issues kept him from being the kind of person that they could trust to be at work every day.
Several friends that I’ve known for more than thirty years wanted to be writers but took nice safe jobs with major corporations. Over the years, many of them lost those nice jobs time and time again.
So I’m feeling very grateful to be a writer today. Even when the going sometimes gets tough, I just keep doing what I love.
A long time ago, I noticed something about jobs: If you don’t know what you want to do with your life, there are plenty of people who are willing to hire you so that you’ll be doing what they want you to do with your life.
Personally, I enjoy being self-directed.
So if you want to write for a living, go write! Do it for an hour a day, or two hours a day, so that you gradually become better. Increase your writing time incrementally, until you can make enough money doing it, that you don’t need some other lousy job.
In other words, do what you love.
If you’re a writer who isn’t writing, you’re wronging.
And if you don’t like writing, that’s okay. The world needs astronauts and senators, teachers and garbage collectors, too.
Writing Enchanting Prose Workshop–Only a Few Spots Left
My workshop in Phoenix is coming up next month, and I have room for a few more students, so if you are interested in coming, let me know. It’s February 20th – 24th. Here is a class description:
In this workshop we will work heavily on imbuing your prose with the richness and details that bring a story to life. The goal is to teach you how to fully transport readers as you take them on a journey that captivates their hearts and minds. David Farland will teach you how to totally transport your readers so that they become so immersed in your story, they forget where they are–they forget they are reading at all.
This workshop is similar to the Writing Mastery workshop, but will be more exercise-oriented, with in-class practices. Writing Enchanting Prose is more in-depth than any of David’s past prose workshops.