In 9 weeks I’m going to be 28 years old! I’ve never been so old before. Yesterday I was thinking about my future as a writer and storyteller. Currently, I’m making very little from my writing, but I do only have four titles out. My immediate plan of 10 books by age 30 seems like something I’ll accomplish either on time or even beforehand.
But then what?
All the money I’m earning at the moment is coming from my day job as bartender/waitress. It helps immensely that living in the UK means I do not have to worry about healthcare 🙂
But sometimes my thoughts go to where I’ll be in ten, twenty even thirty years time. I have ideas of what or where I’ll be like to be. I’m planning on still being writing, I’ll be disappointed if I’m not getting some form of decent income from it. I expect that after a decade of publishing I’ll start to see those dividends. But if I don’t, I won’t regret writing at all.
I try not to compare myself to other authors regardless of how they become more well known than me because their path is different to mine. But then again it would be nice to have enough of an income to take an extra day off work to work on my stories instead of using the time between my shifts. But the only way that can happen is to keep on writing.
Back in high school in grade eight, we had an assignment that included a thing about what we wanted to do with ourselves. It asked us what we wanted to be when we grow up? I think I thought a lot about it. But from memory I couldn’t think of anything else but to be a writer. I didn’t know anyone else who wanted to be like me either and growing up where I did it wasn’t considered a ‘real job’, but I continued to want to write.
Over the following decade I have seen my former school and university peers have children, enter a more professional work environment, buy a house, settle down as you will. But I didn’t follow that path. While I entered into a marriage, within months of that I had moved overseas to Scotland. It was both a big change and something I have taken in my stride.
To support myself, as I do not want to be dependant upon another person, I was able to get jobs in the hospitality industry. At 26 quiet a few people not in this industry might think it belittling or unworthy of their time to be working in such a place. But I have a job next to where I live and am able to live within my means, plus save up to be able to take holidays all over Europe 🙂 I am also able to work around the shifts I have to maintain my health and work on my books 🙂
In private my husband has been encouraging me to think about getting a higher paying job, but the industries put forward are places I would do poorly in. I would either financially destroy people without meaning to or I would endanger their health. Honesty I’m just not good in situations of high even moderate levels of stress. Not to mention that I can be extremely laid back (aka lazy) with things I don’t particularly care about. It’s just the person I am and choose to be through my actions.
I wonder what is the overall point of a high paying job anyway? I don’t spend a lot and I choose not to run with a crowd that values money or how much a person earns over other things. I’m pretty minimalist and if I’m not spending much money then what am I doing wasting hours and days of my life for the benefit of others while at the decline of my own creative ability? I didn’t do a degree in arts and creative writing to further myself just to put it aside and take out every second weekend. I did it to write. And to write often. At the end of the day I would regret limiting my writing for the sake of job that sucks up my time, energy and motivation.
I know in terms of my future people will wonder what about having a safety net? Well I have it. I live in first world country that provides for its citizens as they do for it. Overall I will be fine. I also do have savings and I’m not financially irresponsible. I have a good enough sense of ‘What if this bad thing happens’ and ‘This doesn’t seem like a good idea’ to mostly stop me from doing stupid things.
Some people will ask, ‘but do you want to do this for ever?’ And my answer is not entirely. I many work in this for years. Or I may end up somewhere else. I don’t know where life will take me. But I can guide it quite fine. I position myself in a way that means if I do get into strife then I wont be too affected. So it is not the path others do, expect or want to me to tread. It doesn’t matter. I am able to look after myself to the point where I can chase after my dream of being able to write.
But then why does it matter to other people?
A variety of reasons. They may think my actions will negatively affect them. They might not want me to become a burden to them, and I hope that I don’t. To be thought of as only someone else’s responsibility does not make me feel good about myself. Another might be that they never had the courage to diverge from the standard path themselves and it makes them feel jealous, worthless, threatened, or all of the above. It takes a special type of personality to have the balls to go after their dreams, especially if it doesn’t fit in with the status quo. And disrupting the status quo can really rub people the wrong way. That type of situation can be dangerous, people will try to put you down for having dreams, wanting to be something. Because having dreams makes you special, makes you stand out. If you come across people or situations like that run away if you can, and if you can’t find a way.