So I write for a living. It's what I always wanted to do, and I'm good at it. But it isn't exactly what I imagined it would be when I was younger. I saw myself as "The Artist", the one who would never sell out, who would never compromise my ideals. Then I realized that I wanted to get paid.
I've always seen writing as a noble profession. Novelist, journalist, poet...all people who understand the craft, who love words, who need to express themselves in the written medium. The thing is, I think we all started out with high ideals. The reality is that we're lucky if we can find our niche and make money at it. The rest of us have to compromise if we want a pay check. Being a starving artist may get you laid, but it doesn't put food on the table or pay the bills. Unless you're sleeping with your landlord or the grocery store manager.
I wanted to be an artist, crafting words on paper like a painter manipulates the canvas. I wanted to be famous, rich, well-known. In a way, I'm disappointed that I didn't stumble upon that path. Who wouldn't want to be the next Stephen King or John Grisham? Seeing my name on the best-seller list would be awesome. Having their money would be cool, too. But then there's the pressure to top your last work, to constantly exceed everyone's expectations, to be a publishing machine.
I think I'm happier as a simple freelancer. No, I don't make a ton of money. No, I'm not famous. But you know, I'm happy. I get to write for a living. I get to write on a wide variety of topics. I get to write in different areas, like articles for trade magazines, e-learning courses, marketing copy. It's fun. I also get to write my short stories, work on my novel, be creative.
It ain't a bad gig.
Sure, the hours are long. No nine to five here. The pay can be low, but at least I can make ends meet. The main thing is I get to write, to express myself in a variety of ways, and I'm having fun. Writing is a job, but it's a job I love.