Hello. My name is Julie… and I am a Writer.
I used to love my day job. “Headhunter.” It was fun to say.
“What do you do?”
“I’m a headhunter.”
The money was great, that didn’t hurt, either. I had Something to Prove and I was proving it.
Then one day, I noticed that writing wasn’t just something I did, it was something I Am…
Today, I was talking to the only friend at my day job who really seems to “get” me. I was complaining about the soul-suckingness of coming here and going through the motions, etc. And he asked why I didn’t explore some writing opportunities at the newspaper or something, to elevate my hobby to something I could make a living at.
Huh. Guess he didn’t really get me after all.
So, I endeavored to explain that screenwriting isn’t a hobby, at least, not to me.
Stamp collecting is a hobby. Origami is a hobby. Writing… well, that’s an addiction. A disease at the cellular level, every bit as destructive as alcoholism. It threatens jobs, lifestyles, marriages…
And I heard myself saying — and as I spoke the words, I knew they were true — that if I had to, I’d live in a hole somewhere eating Ramen noodles every meal, as long as I could write. I’d live in a box under an overpass, as long as I could write.
I used to think, as he does, that my writing somehow didn’t “count” unless I was getting paid for it. But, today I realized… it doesn’t matter if I ever make a living at this, as long as I get to DO THIS. The money (shrug) well, that’s just to keep the roof up there and the electricity on and the food on the table. I can earn enough to do all that without having An Impressive (and Soul-Sucking, Live-it-Eat-It-and-Breathe-It) Career.
There’s something deeply liberating in knowing I’m not A Total Failure if I never sell a script and never get that titular promotion from Writer to Screenwriter. It’s all about the Stories. I’ve finally gotten to the place where I’m writing for love of the craft (despite how much it hurts and makes me hate it, sometimes). And somehow, ironically, that makes me feel a wee bit closer to actually getting paid for it.