Who doesn’t want to be a full time writer? To get up whenever you please, prepare breakfast for yourself, and just write?
Becoming a full time writer was a lifelong dream for me, and then – I was suddenly dragged into it by life circumstances that didn’t go as planned.
Although I really love being a full time writer, there are downsides about which nobody speaks. The main downside is, society seldom accepts lifestyles that vary from the norm.
Here are some challenges that I am facing as a full time writer.
Working long hours in a “phantom job”
On my writing journey, I used to work on writing from as little as 1 hour a day to as much as 15 hours a day. It all depended on how much time I had available.
Now, I’m a college graduate, but because of some visa complications I know I won’t be able to be employed on place for the next 20 months.
It’s a difficult situation that kind of forced me to try to earn an income online; and since writing is what I do best, I started a publishing house company.
Even though lots of people know my situation, and I often work in my company for 10-15 hours a day, I don’t earn a real wage yet. And when you aren’t earning a real wage, people tend to invalidate what you do, as money is the physical proof of success. If you aren’t earning money, then you are just not successful.
What is more, to most people, only the lucky ones can make it as writers, and I’ve totally lost the touch with reality. In their eyes, I’m just another nini (from Spanish ni trabaja ni estudia – someone who doesn’t work and doesn’t study). Because what value could my work have if it’s not bringing money (yet?).
I know that most people don’t believe in me and think that I’m crazy. And I’m ok with that. I know what I am doing. I trust in what I am doing and I know I will succeed. I don’t need others to acknowledge me ’cause I am acknowledging myself.
Yet, it’s not only about comments. Some people in my life will go as far as disrupting my writing routine on purpose. I know that they have mostly good intentions, but it truly bothers me.
Declining invitations most of the time
The main reason why I am declining invitations are my depressive moods. Most often, I am just too depressed to go out. I often use the writing work as an excuse, yet, I do writing work even when I am really depressed, as it helps me pick myself up and gives me energy and optimism. To me, writing is a strong antidepressant that helps so much more than pasting asmile on my face and chit chatter with party people.
Yet often, if I am dragged away from my writing work, which drives me crazy. I’m really frustrated when I can’t complete my everyday duties. People can’t understand this frustration, as they hate their everyday jobs.
We have two different situations, two different perspectives, and suddenly, I just don’t know what to talk to people about.
Being a one-track minded bore
When I was younger, I was interested pretty much in everything (I wrote about it in here). I knew that scattering my attention on too many things at once wasn’t a habit of successful people. So, I narrowed my interests to writing and new age spirituality. Let’s put the new age spirituality aside for a moment, and focus on writing. Writing is tied to mastering your skills, publishing, doing marketing, interacting with readers, reading… It’s all fascinating to me, but to somebody who isn’t into it, I’m probably an incredible bore.
Losing (or gaining) too much weight
I know that slouching all the time in front of your laptop (or phone, or notebook) isn’t healthy, and promotes weight gain. For this reason, I was tweaking my diet for years, until I found the perfect spot: intermittent fasting. I’ve been doing it for 7 months already, yet, I constantly hear people protesting: skipping breakfast is unhealthy, you aren’t eating normally, I could never live like that. The rational arguments that IF’s benefits have been proven scientifically, that I feel better, that I’m not even losing weight anymore – don’t work. Eat more. You aren’t eating enough.
Not enough time to train sports professionally
My bucket list is full of sports I’d like to try one day, when I don’t have to work so hard on my writing. These sports are mostly martial arts, oriental dances and street sports. I know that being in your 20s is the best time to do these things, however, I’m so busy writing, being a writing coach and running a publishing house, that I just lack time to dedicate myself seriously to anything else. I am trying to be active when I can, yet… You should work out more, why don’t you go out to take a run, it’s unhealthy to sit in front of a screen for so long… etc. Like I didn’t know it. I have only 24 hours, like every single person on this planet. I dedicate them to what matters the most to me at the current moment, and becoming a sports pro isn’t my priority.
Being constantly asked Why can’t you live normally?
You have only one flaw, darling: you can’t live like a normal person. Why can’t you be a normal person, with a normal lifestyle? Why can’t you pay more attention to the mudane things? I always have to put up with your strange choices.
I had actually heard all these words, and yes, they hurt.
So why can’t I live normally?
Well, let’s start from the beginning. I was lonely, isolated and unheard child. My caregivers were very stern. I was expected to excel in everything, and if I didn’t, love was taken away. When I turned 16, I was so disciplined already that I didn’t need any external motivators.
When I turned 22, I went through a deep personal crisis. One of the outcomes was a realization that I wanted to be free from the system: I didn’t want to work from 9 am to 5 pm for a perpetually unhappy boss and beg to be able to take a free day when I needed it. I didn’t want to be the slave of a minimum wage for 30 years, and then live off a minimum pension.
In the new age spirituality, we believe that thougths lead to actions and actions create the reality. I knew I would never be able to create a different reality for myself if I follow the flock. I wanted to be a writer because that’s what I’m most passionate about. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we all had jobs that we were passionate about? What’s the benefit from having an employee who hates what he’s doing?
Of course, creating a job for yourself isn’t easy. It requires much effort. But I’m great at putting effort into things that I care about. I’m programmed this way. Even if I decided to turn back, and follow the flock, I certainly wouldn’t be happy.
And this is why I can’t live normally.
Because I am willing to sacrifice lots of things now in order to get my dream life later. This is called the delayed gratification. I don’t feel like I’m missing out; rather, I’m postponing the fun life for later (although writing is really much fun as well). But you know what I mean.
So yeah, this was my perspective on the downsides of being a fulltime writer. Sometimes it’s hard. But, most of the time, it really makes me happy.
I hope this was interesting for you.