But it’s funny, still, when people ask me how I can have a day job and write. Because writing novels is all I ever wanted to do. After being dead-dirt poor in my mid-twenties, though, I decided I didn’t want to be a dead-dirt poor writer. So I needed to find a way to be a writer who was not dead-dirt poor. It turns out this is the way to do that in this fucking economic reality right now, exhausting and demanding and annoying as it is. I, too, long for the day when a short story payment paid the rent, and every novel came with an advance upward of $30k. But I don’t live in those days. That is not my reality. And I can either pine away for that, or accept the reality of the hand I’m dealt right now, which is that selling the amount I do, of the type of stuff I do, requires me to work harder, maybe, than others.
–Kameron Hurley works for the money.
It’s an odd thing, because I’ve always written for pleasure. Sometimes more than I’m currently writing, sometimes a hell of a lot less. But I’ve always done it, in between the day job and the husband and the bare dregs of a social life.
But it’s different when it’s for pro. When it’s not just the whim of the mood or a relaxing escape. It’s an obligation, a deadline, a product being slowly brought to market.
And it sucks, sometimes. It really, really does, but…
… But everything else pales into comparison. Don’t get me wrong, I like my day job. The work is interesting, and challenging, and there are plenty of (well-paying) opportunities there. But.
But it’s not the writing. It’s not the fucking dream, no matter how many fingerprints and scratches mar the gloss. Not when it’s a shiny bauble I’ve been hoarding since I was a child–sometimes in secret, sometimes not so much–and no matter how heavy and ugly it gets I can turn to that part of me who will always be the awkward child and say:
“See. We did it. This is it. We thought we could and we did and now we have to live with the consequences, but they’re our consequences. We dreamed this. Now we have to keep on dreaming.”
And, for now, the dream needs a day job.