There comes a time when you have done too much, made too much progress, and come too far to turn back. I passed that point long ago.
Two years ago I started pursuing writing as more than a hobby, and for two years I have made it my single ambition. Although many things have stood in my way, although many times I have been discouraged, although many times the odds have been against me, I have always forged ahead. I read somewhere that the man you are when you’re 30 is the man you will always be. How can I change now?
While it is true that I have a second college diploma in chemical engineering technology, (which does not qualify me to work as an engineer. For that I would have to go back to school for a B. Eng which would cost 30k-40k in student debt. Fuck that.) I never went into that field because after doing the co-op I realized that I hated working in a lab and nothing satisfies me like writing does. I know it sounds crazy. I know that I would make far more money working as a lab monkey somewhere, but I have come too far in my pursuit of writing to stop now. If I give it all up for a so-called “regular job” like I’ve been crying about for the past couple months, I may as well just throw in the towel and forget about it.
The thing about it is, if I work 8 hours a day somewhere, and spend 2 hours a day commuting, that leaves very little time to actually work on my various writing projects and keep up with all the reading I must do to maintain the flow of ideas and inspiration for prose. If I join the daily grind, I forfeit my writerhood.
So what if I’m crazy? So what if most people don’t understand why I do what I do? You have to be a little nuts to do a thing like writing as a career.
Last week I started another job at a call centre to earn some steady cash with the intention of working on my books and occasional journalism on the side. This is the only type of job that I can get in Montreal without bilingualism. But it is embarrassing to have to work this type of job when I have two college diplomas, a lengthy CV of published articles, and membership with the Professional Writers Association of Canada.
The other day I was sitting at my desk thinking What the fuck am I doing here? With the 10 hours I spend commuting and working there, I could be pitching story ideas, prospecting new clients, getting exposure, and potentially earning far more than I ever would at a call centre which pays minimum wage with a pathetic $5/sale commission. There is no pride in selling insurance over the phone, but I take great pride in being a writer.
I am a professional writer. It’s time to snap the fuck out of this rut and start acting like it.
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