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Writing Is a Real Job

Writing is a real job so why do so many people think that it takes no effort or is something to do when you stop real world work?

Writing is a real job.

Writing is a real job.

First Writing Success

Here’s my story. With an active imagination and parents who got me reading at an early age I started to write stories and poems and to copy history notes from books at an early age.

When I was 10 years old I wrote a 13 verse Halloween poem for a school competition and I won in my year group. As the runners up and winners weren’t told which one was which I was positive that little old me was going to be the runner up. My bottom (butt) was half off the bench when they didn’t call my name as the runner up. I thought that was pretty cool. Incidentally, I won a copy of The Railway Children. It's still upstairs somewhere.

Does the real world have to be in competition with the writing world?

Does the real world have to be in competition with the writing world?

Writer in Development

I entered the local newspaper’s short story competition when I was in my 20’s and working as a travel agent. Their photographer came and took my photo and printed the story. I was placed as a runner up in the grown up competition world. Very cool!

Knowing that I wanted to develop much more as a writer before I tried to earn money from words, I had a long think and made a decision to stop writing so much and to spend more time living life so that I could write from my heart and experiences. I think the building stack of rejection slips from my haphazard magazine story submissions helped me to take a time out. This approach may not work for everyone but it worked for me and the writing itch that needed a good old scratch thankfully never went away.

I read up on and gained business administration qualifications, studied writing skills, looked at piles of books in different genres and prepared for the day that I could try to be a professional writer.

You should never stop learning.

You should never stop learning.

Leap of Faith: Goodbye 9-5

When I came back to my writing I had life experiences and opinions that gave me a more solid personal base to write from. The world of technology had also moved on a bit. The convenience of a laptop compared to a desktop was bliss.

Aged thirty three, I hit a crossroads and the almost perfect time presented itself for me to take that leap of faith and see if the childhood and travel agent writing successes were flukes or, as I believed with a heavy dose of hope, early indicators that the dream could be a reality. That Jo might one day be a professional writer.

Although I met with a lot of positive comments when I told people that I was leaving my safe salaried job in the legal property sector to be a writer, including one guy who pitched his work-in-progress to me in the hope that I’d find him and me an agent, there were others who couldn’t hide their less positive responses.

Professional writer not lazy article!

Professional writer not lazy article!

You Know, Writing Is a Real Job

I was stunned to discover that several of the people I worked with thought I had gone slightly mad. It seemed to me that I was defending my decision more than celebrating it with them. I'm a hard worker and they knew that so their responses were bemusing.

  • Writing, apparently, wasn't a reason to quit a real job and nor was it a career.
  • Didn't people just write as a hobby or when they retired to fill the hours?
  • Would I be wearing a kaftan and disconnecting from reality?
  • There were repeated comments about how much sunbathing, boxset viewing and day trips I would take on this holiday from the real world before I came to my senses.
  • Even the sweetest woman in the office looked at me as though I was making a huge error and she wondered aloud if I'd return, presumably shamed, asking for my job back within weeks.
  • When I told colleagues that I’d be working longer hours, that raised eyebrows. When I said that it would be wonderful working "odd" hours rather than an enforced 9-5, they laughed, confident that I’d do nothing or very little.
  • When I explained that writing was a passion and that it allowed me to speak in a medium that I was comfortable with the silence was deafening. A cliché, I know.

Win-Win

Some friends tried to hide their reservations but happily most said that I might as well give it a go, that I had nothing to lose and so good luck to me.

Thank God that I didn’t listen to the negativity. Blessed, I have been a professional writer since 2014. I may not be a famous but I don’t want to be. I am not rolling in millions but that’s fine with me because I want to follow my heart and pay the bills doing what I love. You know what I am? Happy. I feed my soul daily and I like to think that other people enjoy my scribblings and maybe they’ll learn something along the way. A win-win, surely?

If I’d not quit my job, not stubbornly walked the path I wanted to, if I'd followed the opinions of other people, would I be as content? No.

Yes, writing is bleeping hard work and I'll be merrily learning until I write my last word. Nothing worth achieving or loving comes without effort, even the dreams that others consider as pipedreams.

© 2022 Joanne Hayle

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