For a little over half of my marriage I have been a stay at home Mom. I worked through my first pregnancy, took five years off, worked five and a half years, and have been back at home for about a year and a half. Each time I either took a job or stayed home we had logical reasoning. Working with a newborn and no skills usually means a low paying job, and potentially paying to have someone else raise your child. Having a decent job when your second child is born, means it makes sense to keep working. Moving to an area that has approximately 6 available jobs and 60 potential employees to choose from means staying home may be the only option. The upside of being forcibly unemployed of course, is having time to pursue something you are passionate about doing. For me this was writing.
Growing up I wanted to be an actress. Well, technically I suppose it was a writer/director/singer/dancer/actress. Eventually I realized I couldn’t sing or dance, no one listened to me, let alone followed my instructions, and I seemed to lack the ineffable quality needed to make it as an actress. This left me with the only title of writer.
It may seem as though I am only pursuing writing because everything else required some form of talent I didn’t have. The truth is I let the others fall away. There are many successful people who seem to lack the necessary talent to perform in their field. Naming people would seem petty, but let’s be honest; everyone has someone who they look at and wonder how they got to where they are. Talent is a part of the equation, but there is also the need for a large amount of luck and determination. I could have taken voice lessons, danced until I got it right, or done acting exercises to improve technique. Those dreams died because they weren’t my true passion, they were byproducts of what I really wanted.
I wanted to tell stories. I wanted to share how I saw the world. I wanted to imagine something new, something no one had thought of before. I wanted to reimagine something classic and turn it into something new. I wanted to go on exciting adventures, and bring everyone along.
When you want to pursue something creative, people always tell you that you can’t. It’s not a safe career. Most people can’t make a living with a job like that. You will receive hundreds of rejections. Everyone wants to do something amazing, but someone has to do the everyday jobs. Instead you should do something safe. Don’t quit your day job.
Right now, I don’t have a day job. My children go to school and I have most of the day to myself. It won’t last forever. Someday, maybe soon, maybe not for a few years, I will have a job again. An opportunity for employment will arise that will fit my skills and I will be the lucky one that time. When that day comes, I will need to remember, even if you keep your day job, you don’t need to give up on your day dream.