If you said that you wanted to be a doctor, what are the chances someone would advise you not to do it. If you wanted to be a teacher, a plumber, a banker, a computer programmer, or tinker, tailor, soldier, spy, no one would question your sanity. Yet, announce that you want to work in the arts, and what are you crazy? Get a real job, then you can have your hobbies.
Now, even Margaret Atwood is advising the artistic person, in this case wannabe writers, don’t do it. Said jokingly, maybe, but still another person on the bandwagon.
Well, I have some advice of my own concerning this issue: Don’t listen to them! They’re missing a very important element of having a creative life. We don’t all have to be as successful as someone like Margaret Atwood. Oh sure, the popularity and riches of Stephen King would be nice. Not to mention the comfort of knowing you could write the alphabet backwards and it would be a bestseller. But, just to have a life doing what you love to do, that’s the wonder of it.
I had a friend in Louisiana who did just that. He was a singer/musician and was the choir director at a local high school and his church. He also gave voice lessons, which is how I met him. I remember him talking about how busy he was and all the projects he was working on and I said, “How wonderful that your whole life is filled with music.” He stopped and looked at me as if he had never thought of it that way, then replied, “You’re right. It is wonderful.”
Of course, it is easier to say “Lead your creative life” than it is to make enough money to do so. But how much is enough? And compared to enjoying what you do, what is that creative life worth? If you are happy with you every-day job and having your creative outlet in your free time, then good for you. But if not, and you struggle through, feeling restless and unsatisfied, then for crying out loud, do something about it. It’s never too late. Unrealized desires and dreams fester and destroy your soul. Don’t get trapped in that if you can help it.
So, go on! Get going! What are you waiting for? Come to think of it, I should take my own advice.