Today I had an interesting conversation with one of my best friends. “Interesting” in that it annoyed me more than usual. And by “conversation” I mean it was only a few lines of exchange and then we both quickly moved on, because my friend isn’t stupid and if I had continued talking I might have slapped her.
Me: My goal in life is to be able to make a living off of just writing.
Friend: How’s that going for you?
Me: It’s a process.
Me: Stop smirking.
Okay, first of all, I know very well that this particular conversation was my own fault, because I opened my big mouth. But what you have to understand is that I’ve been having battles along these same lines with this same friend for at least six years. And it’s very draining.
This is my friend who informed me constantly in high school when I was looking at Creative Writing programs, then constantly in college when I was majoring in Creative Writing, all the way to now (read: she still does it) that majoring in English/Creative Writing is “majoring in unemployment.” She shut up about it for a while when she left school, and then again when I pointed out that at least I HAVE a job of some sort (she’s the unemployed one currently), but it’s started up again ever since she went back to college to major in Accounting.
Here’s the deal–majoring in Creative Writing is NOT majoring in unemployment. Nor is majoring in any of the arts. It annoys the living daylights out of me when people tell me things like that, like I was stupid because I chose to study something I’m passionate about instead of studying something only because it would make me a ton of money. I wasn’t going to be one of those people. I wanted to study something I love and I was lucky enough that my parents fully supported that.
What really, really got under my skin during today’s conversation with my friend was the fact that she had the audacity to smirk at me when I said that, as though that dream is completely implausible. Sure, not every writer can make a living only off of their writing. I get that. I’m not saying that it would be an easy choice to make or road to take or anything. I’m saying that, should things work out, should I find myself capable of living only off my novels, then I want to try. No, I haven’t sold a novel yet, but who cares? It’s hard. It takes time. Like I told my friend, it’s a process.
For now, I’m happy with living off my day job and writing on my off-hours. But I’m a dreamer and a writer and I’m not about to let the disbelief of anyone in my life keep me from trying to achieve those dreams. I’m going to keep standing up for what I studied in school. I’m sick of people, particularly this one friend, being holier-than-thou because they’re doing something like accounting and all I want to do is write. I’m going to keep doing what I love. For me, writing makes life worth living.
“Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depth of your heart; confess to yourself you would have to die if you were forbidden to write.” ~Rainer Maria Rilke