Isn’t that crazy?? Maybe I should have categorized this post under “Is It Weird?” because I don’t really know any writer who writes as often and as passionately as I do that DOESN’T want to just write full-time.
But I don’t really get it, TBH. I mean, if I was a full-time writer…I would just sit at my computer all day? I mean, the writing part sounds fun but no interaction with another human being? Just me and my imagination? ALL DAY??
I love my imagination. It can go to all sorts of crazy places that other people might be terrified to learn about. It’s fun, it’s inspiring, it’s magical.
I don’t want to live there.
My imagination is a great escape. It’s a daunting adventure or moment of intense sex and romance or a field of relaxation depending on my mood. But it’s there as the yang of the real world’s yin. I need both. They belong together.
Allow me to get more detailed, because the paradox here is that I’m actually a writer at my full-time job as well so, technically, I AM a full-time writer. But the writing at work is very different – it’s nonfiction, it requires extensive research, it stretches my brain in opposite directions than fiction does.
So, I’ll rephrase: here are the reasons I don’t want to be a full-time FICTION writer:
1. I need shit to write about. Look, my imagination is as vast and quirky as anyone’s but most of those ideas come from the amalgamation of real-life experiences. Characters are inspired by friends, hilarious interpersonal confrontations are pulled from observing others, and jokes are often developed in the moment. I need people, places, and events to trigger my imagination.
2. I’m not that introverted.
I need to get out. It appears more of my friends and family are torn on my introvert/extrovert status – half say I’m one, half say the other. I’ve settled in ambivert. Either way, I need people. I need to be around them regularly. If I wrote fiction all day long, I would HAVE to go out with a friend or something in the evening to find my sanity and most of my friends are too busy for that. A day job offers an awesome sort of social interaction which brings me to my next point.
3. I like working on a team.
Now, if I became popular enough that I had a publishing team and I could go to author signing events, do presentations, etc, now THAT would be the dream. I’d take that on a heartbeat. But even if I find a way to monotize fiction writing, chances are I’m not gonna have those kinds of resources. At work, I’ve got an amazing team that I love working with and we do amazing shit together. You’d have to do a lot of convincing to talk me out of that.
4. I like stretching my left brain.
It’s not that my practical/logical side doesn’t get any exercise when I write fiction, but it doesn’t stretch like it does when I’m working on a technical white paper. I’ve always been a cake + eat it too person; I want to work my creative side AND my logical side. It’s one of the reasons I chose marketing for a career path. As long as I maintain that balance, I’m happy.
5. I write better when I’m overwhelmed and don’t have time for it.
Crazy, right? I learned this at my last job. The work environment was nice and I had a great boss but upper management was frustrating and I had to be in an office every day 8-5. And I HATE being controlled like that. I also wrote my entire first novel, Stripped (now on Kindle Scout, please vote!), ON MY CELL PHONE while I worked there. Not kidding. Almost 60k words. I would take 5-15 minute breaks three times a day and write on my cell phone in the “Notes” app. It felt AMAZING. Like every frustration just poured out of me and I became whole again. Now I have a job I love but I still have frustrating days and I still have little time. It forces me to be more efficient and it makes my creativity focus – and then I can spend time in-between thinking about what I’ll write next or where the plot should go. Sometimes it’s better to think more and write less (I know, most authorities on the subject would probably slam me for that!).
So there you have it. I realize I’m unusual in this way, but maybe not as much as I thought? You tell me!