Whenever my schoolteachers gave out writing assignments, I had to hide my excitement. While all the other kids hated putting words on paper, I always thought it was fun. Whenever given a word minimum, my teachers (and my saintly newspaper editors) can attest that I wrote (and write) too much.
In college, I started off in pre-med but switched to undeclared after learning that college chemistry was as lot frigging harder than high school chemistry. When I re-realized that I’d always wanted to write, I quit my “smart career path,” moved to New York City, enrolled in a uni there and became an English major. Later, I took journalism classes and went on to work for newspapers and magazines.
As an adult, I like leaving Yelp reviews, and I keep blogs and a journal. I’ve published four textbooks and written three novels and two screenplays, but those last few things aren’t quite finished. Yet.
A bit ago, I came across this article in the New York Times asking “Does It Pay to Be a Writer?” So far for me, the answer has been a solid “No.” The Colorado Daily pays me, but definitely not enough to stay afloat.
As much as my grumbling stomach and empty bank account beg to differ, I don’t care about giant paychecks. As a bright-eyed wannabe writer, I thought Stephen King would be barking at me for knocking his stuff off of people’s bookshelves.
Unfortunately, I still work a day job. For the past few forevers, whenever somebody asks me what I do, I say, “I work as a blah blah blah, but I’m actually a novelist. I just haven’t been published. Yet.” I don’t care about my desk job except that it pays my bills and gets me health insurance.
Sooner or later, one of my novels will get picked up. My books are funny, fun, cool, interesting and new — and I’ll work for cheap. For the first novel or so.
But what if I actually suck? Should I just quit my dream of writing sci-fi, fantasy and comedy books?
Will I always want to be a writer? Or would it be nice to become an air traffic controller without spending weekends and nights re-editing my novel because I don’t think the third act works as well without the scene where my main character reveals his true sadness after his hamster dies?
Hopefully I’m not forgotten before I’m appreciated like the guy who wrote “Moby Dick” or kill myself like the “Confederacy of Dunces” dude. People piss and moan about never reaching their potential and hating their lives. I want my career and calling to be something fun, so, I’ll keep typing.