You have heard of obsessions, when a man is haunted day and night, say, by the idea of the moon or something? Well, I’ve got my moon. Day and night I am obsessed by the same persistent thought; I must write, I must write, I must write. . . . No sooner have I finished one story than I am somehow compelled to write another, then a third, after a third a fourth. I write without stopping, except to change horses like a postchaise. I have no choice.
Trigorin in The Seaqull by Anton Chekhov
Yesterday’s question of What should I read? is more readily answered than that of What should I write?
I mean, I’ve been blogging in some form or another for more than fifteen years. How is it humanly possible that I’m not a bazillionaire with houses at the beach and in the mountains with a helicopter for transporting between the two?
Don’t. Answer. That.
In some ways I know, and I’ve talked about it before. I know I’m not going to make my living as a writer talking about making my living as a writer. Still, as I’ve written before, I was in my early fifties when I allowed myself to say “I am a writer” as opposed to “I want to be a writer.”
I know what I want to write. I just don’t (yet) know how to make it pay.
I mean, I want to finish my script. I want to finish my novel(s). But are those going to pay the bills? Not this week.
But, just as in my acting, I’m having to keep the day job. I have not yet reached the point of going into my boss and saying “Have you heard this Johnny Paycheck song recently?” (Look up the reference, it will do you good.)
Last year I backed off of some of the freelance work I was doing because I was struggling with much of the subject matter which meant it was taking too much of my time.
And you know (or should know) that I backed way off of the political blogging. However I currently have two standing invitations to return to that arena.
So, when I read the articles about finding your niche as a freelance writer, I have to wonder if I have a niche?
Can I be so singularly focused on one subject that I parlay that into a writing career and write about that one thing only?
Doesn’t that lead me back to the drudgery of the day job I’m trying to escape?
Stephen King said:
Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, making dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end it’s about enriching the lives of those who will ready our work, and enriching your own life as well.
Maybe my reality is that I’m a writer with a day job.
Maybe I have to be content with writing because I want to write and not because it pays the bills.
Maybe if, forty years ago, when I first went to college I could have said those words “I am a writer,” and stuck with it, I’d be writing today as my career.
Then again maybe if I had I would be trying to escape the drudgery of that day job.
I could write about that, but would you pay me for the opportunity to read it?
The struggle is real.