“Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.”
After finishing up my walk/run on the treadmill in the gym this morning I began talking to two fellow gym members and we were watching The Wendy Williams Show (no one bothers to turn the T.V. channel after the news goes off) and this morning the Braxton family were the guests today. Now despite saying that I would never watch that mess during the first season (because I hate most reality TV shows), I accidentally ended up watching it one night and I was immediately hooked and have been watching ever since. There’s so much about the Braxton family that I learned in watching their show and it is extremely entertaining to say the least.
Needless to say, one of the sisters, Towanda, is separated from her husband and she talked about that today on The Wendy Williams Show and that one of the main reasons that they are separated is because he doesn’t have a job. Now because I watch the show I know that her husband is a writer, albeit a struggling writer, but a writer nonetheless. He just self-published his first book and already has himself lined up for several media and book events so he is soon about to take off. However, because the fruits of his labor have not been seen yet, he is still seen as the man with no job.
I take great issue with this because that implies that writing is not a job. This sparked some mild debate with my two gym buddies because initially they felt as if I was attacking them. After making it clear that I was not directly referring to them, I expressed how I am constantly hearing that about writers. It’s as if you say you’re a writer and people then say oh, but what is your job. That is my job. I AM A WRITER! It takes time, discipline, determination, persistence, and sheer willpower to put in the work to write a book and then do everything else that it takes to get that book published and then make it successful. Writing is no small feat and I am getting really tired of people who dismiss it as simply a hobby or something that someone with an actual job does on the side.
Now don’t get me wrong, there are people with skilled jobs or even other major career paths who do in fact write on the side and I am not trying to take anything away from them. But you do have those people who are not better suited for a regular, skilled, 9 to 5, type of job because it would simply just take away from doing what it is that they were truly meant to do. I am one of those people. I have had regular jobs and I have once thought about taking up a particular skilled job that I could make a career out of but I just simply am not built that way. I was born to be a writer and while I do not currently have what other people would consider a job, I feel that everyday that I sit down to my computer and write on my blog, or write an article for some online publication, or send out my queries to national magazines for my articles, or send out queries to agents for representation, or work on my novels, or edit someone else’s novel, that I am doing my JOB.
I don’t make as much (right now) that I would like to be making and I do struggle at times without having that steady stream of bi-weekly income to come into my household but I don’t regret not going out there and seeking typical employment. I do what I love and I am home for my daughter when she gets home from school to help her with homework and for whatever else her needs are. I feel like people who just choose to write for a living with no additional methods of income get a really bad wrap. Out of work Actors don’t get told that they are no longer considered Actors because they are not currently making a steady stream of income, no they are still Actors, so what is so different about being a writer? I don’t knock anyone that does go to work in the morning and comes home and parents their children and then if they want to write, sit and write at night. I think that it is admirable and very tough to do, but everyone is not built that way. I know that I was never good at it and frankly it made me quite miserable and at times unbearable to deal with.
I suppose that I am writing to all of those writers out there who might at times be feeling guilty about making the choice to either quit their regular jobs or just not seek another one altogether to focus on their writing. If you feel that writing is your purpose and what you were meant to do, if you feel that you are truly doing God’s work, then go for it. You will struggle, you will get frustrated, you will be looked at funny, you will get rejected, but in the end, when your goal is accomplished and you get to where you always envisioned yourself being, then it will all be worth it. Until tomorrow…Be brave enough to do what’s in your heart and commit yourself to following through.
The Diary: Succession of Lies (Now Available)
Writing as “Jaycee Durant”