Career

When people tell you that you should turn what you love into your job, I would be really careful about following that advice. I’m not saying don’t do it. I’m saying to have a look at the practicalities and make an informed decision.

If you love fine art and painting, this does not mean you should be a graphic designer. Graphic designers don’t get to draw what they want. They mostly get to draw what unimaginative, soulless business assholes want. Or think they might want. But, you know, they’re really not sure. Could you make it a little more, I dunno, zippy? You know, like that commercial with the thing, but not so close that we get sued.

Hey I took a picture on my phone of this flower. I want that as my logo. Can’t you just zip that through your computer and make it for me in an hour? What kind of graphic artist are you anyway?

I may love writing but that doesn’t mean I want to write copy for a living. Well, maybe “love” isn’t the right term. It’s more like I have a demon in me that rapes my soul constantly, and writing is the one thing that seems to calm it down. It uses lube and bites less when I’m providing it a good word count. So I guess we can call it love. That’s a kind of love, isn’t it?

Be that as it may, I love the craft enough that I don’t want to ruin it for myself by turning it into something I have to do for a living. There is only so much time in the day, and I have only so much creative energy. I don’t want to waste what little I have on the mundane bullshit required to keep myself alive.

I’m so precious with it that I’m halfway through writing my second novel and I still don’t want too many people reading it. First and foremost, I want it to be for me. I want it to be what I want to read. I don’t want that vision getting compromised. Once it’s all done I’ll send it out into the world to sink without a trace, but I need it to be done right first.

What I’m trying to say here, is that if you have a serious muse that you want to pursue, don’t try to turn that into your job. Try to make your job something that you’re good at, but that leaves plenty of energy in your reserves. Maybe marrying for money or some other form of harlotry, if nothing else seems to work out.

If, however, you have a strong faculty for something without the burning drive to get it right, to have it be just so, then you might be looking at a very marketable skill. The market loves people who are highly skilled but lack any real passion for what they are producing.

That’s what success is all about.

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