Friday, June 14, 2013

A Writer's Life

A few months ago I talked here about writing. I shared my fears of whether I was actually a writer. Writing creates vulnerability. When you open yourself up through the written word you are inviting others to praise, criticize or stare blankly at the page with indifference.

In three years, Grace will start kindergarten. She will go off to school everyday and I will be left home for a few hours officially unemployed. That is the thing with our little ones. They grow and slowly move away from us.

My favorite question for Christian is, "what is the minimum amount of money you need me to make?" You see, I have no fear about being able to financially take care of myself. I fully believe if I needed to support our family financially that I could do it. But I don't want to do it. I want to be free for as long as our children live in our home. I want to be here when they leave for school and get home from school. I have no desire to return to a corporate job where I leave at 7:30 and get home at 5:30 and travel and stress and then come home to all the work of mothering. God bless the working mom. I can't even imagine how I would get it all done.

Last summer I picked up "The Copywriter's Handbook" at the library. Robert Bly's book explained how he used his formal professional training to become a copywriter. He creates written business materials for companies based on his technical skills. This got me started thinking that I should do that. I have formal business training. I worked for various corporations for ten years before I left to raise Jack.

Somehow my copywriting vision transitioned to marketing consulting. I took my simple idea of trying to write copy and made it into a bigger vision. I found my first client and began doing some marketing work. And while I like helping a small business. And while I feel competent; I don't really enjoy it.

I don't want to expand my marketing business and even keep turning down additional clients. Yet, I keep wanting to write. I keep coming back to the notion that writing is my path.

For as long as I can remember, the written word has been my passion. I have always been an avid reader. I love books. But I have also always written. And for a people pleaser like myself, I love when people compliment my writing. It is the one area where I feel proud when people like what I say.

My dilemma is writing is not a lucrative business. To choose to write is to choose to make less money than I could with my professional training. It is a decision to pursue passion over dollars. And writing is hard work. Whether copywriting, article writing, editing or creating the elusive first novel; crafting the written word takes diligence. But I love it. I love to see words from my mind transferred to the page. It creates a joy and pride that I have only previously found in the faces of Jack and Grace.

Will I take this path that follows my passion? Can I do the hard work? Can I demonstrate for my children that following one's passion leads to joy even if not to riches?

I do realize that I have these options because of my husband's success. He works hard so that I have choices. For that I am grateful. It is not lost on me that my life is dripping with privilege.

So do I take advantage of the privilege and set out down the uncertain path of a writer's life or do I follow the path I know? One of structure and weekly paychecks?

Writing makes me feel like I could change the world. It gives me hope that as individuals we can impact our fellow man for good. What path will I take? I am not sure I know. But I do know that we can search a lifetime and never pinpoint our passion. Maybe only a fool would turn away.

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