As I mentioned in my last post, I recently started a new job. As I was going through the interview process, and giving the standard answers that explain why I was looking for a professional job as opposed to following through with my education/”dream” and doing media. The answer I always give, and one that is true in life if not intent, is that creative writing and film is a hobby.
The main distinction I make, and the reason making that statement is basically true, is that I’ve never been paid for my writing. Until I get paid, hell, until I get paid to work at screenwriting/prose the majority of my time, I can’t look at it as anything than a hobby. A time-consuming, draining, rejection-filled hobby.
Many successful creatives, when asked if they ever considered anything else, say the only thing they ever worked toward is whatever they are. Quentin Tarantino is a good example. The way he talks you might expect that he would be homeless or dead if he had never succeeded. I would love to say that about myself, but it’s just not realistic.
For one, I don’t have that single-minded focus. It’s true that there is nothing I want to be doing for the rest of my life more than writing, but at the same time I don’t feel an overwhelming urge to chase the money, either. To me, being able to sustain myself off of it is an aspiration in the same way that earning bonuses is an aspiration. I want it. I’ll work toward it. But at the end of the day it’s a perk.
Basically, I need a guarantee that I’ll be able to make money consistently for a long time outside of writing. I’m getting older, my needs are changing, scary things like “marriage” and “children” and “home-owning” may be on the horizon. The distant horizon, sure, but I’m beginning to hear their beck and call. Coupled with my admitted focus-philandering with extra projects, freelancing, and volunteerism as well as any sort of a social life (which has, unfortunately, waned since I moved out of Buffalo) creative writing may take something of a back seat. I hesitate to say that, because I don’t want it to be true, but I’m nothing if not realistic (some would say pessimistic) and I’m a firm believer that there are several routes to happiness and a life well-lived.
It sounds like a choice and in a lot of ways it is. I’ve talked about it before. But the way I see it is that there is no me but the present me and present me should have the best life possible. Present me should have learned everything he knows from past me and should definitely be looking out for future me, but present me is where it’s at. Plus, I mean, people become famous writers as a hobby all the time.
Just ask Stephanie Meyers.