I have always told my kids to find what they love most, and then to go for it, whatever it might be. Last night however, it struck me that I might not be so sure that is good advice. (I also might not be so sure that is a good sentence, but let’s address one issue at a time.)
My sixteen year old daughter is understandably frustrated. She is tired of the apartment we are living in and would like us to move. I would love to move also, but it’s not in the budget. Her solution is for me to go out and get a job. Now in her defense, she will be working this summer, so it’s not as though she is asking me to do something she would never do herself. However, she certainly won’t make enough money for us to move, and neither would I if I were to go work at Aaron Brothers, or any of the other jobs she thinks I should apply for.
I am a writer. I have been a writer since I was a very young child. I have always known that this is what I am meant to do. It is truly my passion. That is the good side of this life I am living. The difficult part is that no one understands what it means to be so compelled to write. To have a dream that you know is meant to be fulfilled, but which has yet to be realized, at least in a financial way. When I hear, “go get a job, you can still write on the weekends,” it is clear to me that the people saying it don’t understand what it takes to write write and promote numerous novels.
I have had jobs outside of writing before and each time it literally sucked the light and creativity out of me. It also made no significant change in our finances. Yes, we could pay the bills a little easier, but were there vacations or new homes? No. The reality is that I am a high school drop out. I am not going to get a high paying job. As I tried to explain to my daughter, I can stay the course and hope to one day make it big, or I can give up, but what is in it for me? What do I get if I give up?
This is a full time job on it’s own, but last night, for the first time, I wished it wasn’t. I’m tired of trying to explain myself. I’m tired of being judged, and I am tired of wanting this dream so bad that it hurts. I wish I could give up. I wish I could convince myself that if I were to get a traditional job I could get more than an unsatisfactory existence.
I know what I know though, and that is all I would get. I’ve seen too many people cave to pressure and give up on their dreams. I watched my own mother bow to the pressure, and then watched her slowly die. I can’t give up, but now I wonder, do I really want my kids to find something they love as much as I love writing? Maybe not.