Why Aren’t You Making a Career of Writing Again?

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Why aren’t you making a career with your writing?  It’s a question I’ve been asked what seems like an inordinate amount as of late.  It’s as if the universe is converging on me from all angles to remind me, you would think unnecessarily, of that thing I love and why I should be pursuing it.  It all started with a text conversation with my best friend Meg.   She was walking down the steps at the train station on her daily commute and suddenly found herself thinking of all the playwriting I did in college. Random. “I swear, I did!” She promised me.  “You were so into writing then.” She continued.  Oof.  Total gut punch.

It’s not that Meg intended to zing me or say anything remotely hurtful.  It was just one of those off the cuff comments that gets to the heart of the matter and cuts right through you. And as a result I thought about it. A lot.  Arguably it’s much easier to be “into writing” when you’re in college and you have no real responsibilities outside of class.  Typically, you’re not paying a mortgage, a car payment, or worrying about your health insurance.  Your biggest worry is usually a hangover or cranking out that 20 page term paper overnight.  It’s much easier in that environment to devote a lazy afternoon to working on your “masterpiece”.  As an adult, it can be much harder to motivate yourself.  You get up early, work all day, and when you come home, often you just want to veg out and turn your brain off.  For me, even as a huge movie nerd, sometimes watching a new film is even more than I can stand because I want to avoid thinking just that much.



Ben Schwartz speaks the truth.


But still, I love writing.  It’s something I can comfortably say that I am good at. And so, theoretically it shouldn’t be so hard for me to make time for.  At times, I’ve beaten myself up for not writing and wondered if maybe my lack of production and motivation was a sign that I didn’t love it “enough” to make a go of it.  Ultimately I think that’s bullshit. Success and a career isn’t guaranteed to even those who want it the most.  It’s not a movie magic twist of fate.  If I’m honest with myself, it’s mostly a flaw in my own DNA, not a lack of love or desire, that makes it hard for me to motivate myself.  It’s something that bleeds into all aspects of my life.  It’s perhaps my fatal flaw.  This is going to make me sound like a real douche but bear with me.  I’m pretty good at most things I try.  I tend to be a fast learner and while I’m by no means an expert at anything, I can usually pick up on something pretty quickly and be average or a little above right way.  And so, when things are hard for me, when they require some real blood, sweat, and tears, sometimes (ok a lot of the time) (ok almost always) I have a tendency to bail.  Poor me, right?  I know. I’m coming off as a real asshole right now.

And so, here we are back at the original question I’ve been asked so much lately – why aren’t you making a career with your writing? Because I’m being an asshole, I guess is the most direct answer.  Because I’m getting in my own way and wasting my own time, is probably the more specific one.  But the silver lining to that brutal honesty is that I can fix it.  I’m the master of my own destiny.  It’s probably the biggest, most obvious lesson I’ve learned in my late 20s and early 30s. There’s a lot we can’t control in this world – the list seems to be getting longer by the day.  But we can always control ourselves, our perspective, and our approach.  I could have looked at all these inquiries about my writing as a downer, and I definitely let myself have a pity party for a hot minute or two.  But ultimately, I’ve looked at them as a chance to reevaluate my approach to writing and reassess my priorities.  It’s never too late to start over.  Hopefully ten years from now Meg with have another random thought and texting me about this time in my life will say something like, “that’s when you got so into writing again.”


How Did I Get Here?

When you turn 30, a lot of people – mostly men, don’t ask me why – will jokingly ask you, “how old you, 21?” or some other similar, younger, age.  They mean well.  Most people – mostly women – freak out about turning 30.  I am not one of those people.  I’m perfectly happy to be 30.  Maybe even more than perfectly happy.  Your twenties are for making lots of mistakes, learning the hard way, and getting a lot of what ifs and I wonders out of your system.  I spent a lot of Tuesdays in my early to mid twenties staying at a local bar with my friends until last call and then going to work at 8:30 the next morning.  In your twenties time seems endless and maybe that’s why some people freak out about their thirties because you do definitely start to get a sense of time being finite.


Finite time doesn’t have to be inherently scary though.  It can be thrilling.  You’re 30 – it’s time to focus on what you really want.  When I first thought about turning 30 I felt a sense of disappointment and guilt for having squandered my twenties not getting to work on a career.  I knew people from college who were working consistently in the creative world of Broadway, for exciting, fun sounding companies, taking job opportunities across the globe.  Even my friends who had just simply figured out what they wanted to do with their lives and started careers back home, made me feel jealous.  WHAT WAS I DOING WITH MY LIFE?!  I still really don’t know.  We were one of the first generations to be told, “You can be whatever you want when you grow up!”  As a kid I dreamed of being a veterinarian, an actress, an archaeologist – wild disparate things.  In a lot of ways I still feel like that kid. Some days I just want to talk about movies for the rest of my life, others I want to fight for women’s rights, still others I want to be a fitness guru.  I have no idea which of these things or which other, non-listed thing I’ll end up doing 10 years from now. But I know that no matter what, 10 years from now, I want to be doing something that I love doing most days. Is that so much to ask?

So here I am, 4 months into 30 and wondering where I’ll be at 40. It’s time to focus. I’m married. My husband and I are stupid happy, we have an apartment that suits us just fine, and two cats to snuggle in good times and bad. We’re saving little by little for a house and not yet ready for kids, if we ever do decide to have them.  So things, for the moment at least, are pretty settled. Except that I’m miserable 40 hours of my week.  I hate my job.  It stresses me out to the point of physical illness.  It’s not stressful in the amount of work or how challenging it is.  My work is very simple.  But I’m ridiculously unhappy and the office is very small and very dysfunctional.  It’s clear to me and virtually everyone in my life that it’s time to move on to something better.  This, is without a doubt, my number one goal for my thirties – professional fulfillment. This next one, whatever it may be, may it come blissfully soon, doesn’t have to be THE ONE.  It just has to be a step in the right direction. I’m going for a “started at the bottom now we here” kind of vibe.


So that’s why we’re here. Sort of. Join me for ramblings, musings, rants, incoherence, and possible emotional breakdowns as I navigate 30 and my thirties, chasing the dragon of fulfillment. Marriage, career, travel, fitness, cocktails, movies, fashion, food, and much, much, more to come.