Because I would love to be.
You don’t realize you’re making a mistake, until suddenly you do.
Just like that time you accidentally waited six hours in line to ride Space Mountain at Disney World only to realize you were actually instead in the ticket line for Universal Studios, so long that it stretches across Orlando and through Disney World as well. Standing at the counter, you realize that you’ve wasted a lot of time fighting for something you never wanted.
Maybe that to me is what a law degree is. Or any sort of degree other than one in… English.
No law degree hides in my possession at the age of 17, but the possibility for one does. At 17, everything seems possible. I could still drop this writing gig and became a neurosurgeon. I find me asking myself, why not? Why not a doctor? Or a lawyer? Or a politician? I could make a difference, couldn’t I?
But I don’t want to. At least, not that way.
The only real problem with wanting to be a writer is needing to be a writer. Once you start, it’s not something you can just stop. It’s sort of a very healthy addiction. Maybe not for your wallet, but…
Not many people can make it just as a writer. Especially not at first.
Even armed with creative writing MFA’s and publishing connections, a writer still has to worry about surviving off the money he or she makes. And what can you buy with dough except maybe the flour to make more dough for bread and maybe water, scarcely? Sounds harsh, right?
But besides the hundreds of exceptions you can spill out, think on the thousands, nay, millions of writers making not diddly squat. Unless you write about boy wizards or in-love vampires, you need another career.
Which is something I have always battled with, since I only want to be a writer. Not that everyone really WANTS to do their jobs, only… I figured by now I’d be famous and rich enough not to work another day in my life. And if I am that disappointed by what I haven’t achieved by the age of 17, then maybe I’m shooting too high.
So what now? What am I to do for the rest of my life while pursuing a literary career? Becoming an English professor sounds cool, maybe first a high school English teacher? The country needs more, better teachers, right? I can TOTES do that.
What sort of jobs have literary men held in the past? Well, let us take a peek…
Dickens worked in a blacking factory at the age of eleven. (I think I’ll pass)
Shakespeare worked as a schoolmaster.
Oscar Wilde, before writing much, was a perpetual college student.
Katherine Dunn, author of Geek Love, worked as a boxing stringer for the Associated Press.
Chuck Palahniuk worked as an intern at a radio station before writing his first novel at the age of 30.
Many writers don’t start out writers. They don’t grow into adults already established and published. That takes years. So, yes, writers must also have real jobs. I know….. it disappoints me too.