Terrifying news: I may get paid to write.
The writing is not the problem. Clearly, I enjoy writing. I enjoy writing to the point where I’ll tap away at the keyboard for free with very little in the way of reader response. I’ve completed two and a half novels I haven’t really bothered to send anywhere. I’ve published a couple of poems in the sort of literary journals read by three aspiring poets. And, for four years, I’ve blogged away for an audience consisting, from what I can discern, of ten friends from college.
But there’s a big difference between enjoying something and allowing it to take the full weight of your requirements. O, those pesky requirements- cheese, shoes, a place to sleep with an actual roof. I’ve seen, from my years in music, how professionalizing something you love can strangle that love, how making something you love into work makes it, well, work.
So I’ve kept writing as my hobby. It’s easier for me than music or speech therapy, those things I do for pay. It comes to me much more naturally, a home birth as opposed to an epidural-laden, doctor-drenched caesarian. I think I thought, when I was growing up, that writing was too easy, that anything you could do that comfortably must be cheap.
Keeping writing off the professional table all these years let me give it space to breathe. I could write whatever I wanted, when I wanted. I could be entirely self-indulgent in my writing, without a shred of concern for audience or market. And I can’t say that I’m not afraid to lose the freedom that comes from working for nothing.
Fortunately, for what they’re paying me, it’s almost like I am.