A couple of weeks ago, Eric Beetner posted a short Q&A with me about the day job. He's got a series of those things going. Interesting stuff. You can see mine (and the others) here:
Writers with Day Jobs R Thomas Brown
One of the things he asked was about chucking it all and writing full time. The initial reaction for most writers is probably "Sure, but I scared." That was mine too. It sounds great. Spending all your time crafting stories. And it is scary. No steady income. No benefits (at least not in the US at the moment) and the feeling that it could all crash down at any moment.
But still, the pull exists. Even for those with jobs that are okay, and give them time to write, the pull to just jump and follow your passion is strong. I think it's because we all hear that as the key to happiness over and over.
Follow your passion.
Do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life.
Chase your dream and the money will follow.
Here's a clip of Denzel Washington lauding the glory of no fallback position.
Denzel Washington Graduation Speech
While there's good advice in there about the value of failure and the importance of risk taking, there are also the echoes of never giving up on your dreams and never thinking about what to do if they just won't come true.
It my not be a very inspirational message, but not all who take risks are rewarded. Not everyone has the talent to thrive at their passion, regardless of time spent acquiring skill.
Am I saying to just chuck it all, run for security and abandon all hope? Hell no. I still write. I still churn out as many words as I can. I still cling to the hope that someone, enough someones, will love it and I'll be able to turn that into a career. I'll always keep that dream.
But, it might not happen. I might not be that good. I might be good, get better, and never get lucky. I have no idea what the future might hold. But, I know that I have responsibilities in my life. A wife. Children. I don't think that selfishly chasing my dreams, to their detriment is the right thing to do.
Plus, even if it were just me, it seems foolish. There's a reason that life is not made up of artists and philosophers alone. The world needs to have people who work, not for the love of the work, but for the desire to use the fruits of their labor. We can't all just chase dreams full time.
Dreams are wonderful. They should be chased. But should all people ignore fallback? Just hope the money will follow? I think not. Does it work for some? Yes. Am I judging people who jump? No. I just think we could all find a little piece of acceptance, and reflection and realize that something that seems enticing might not be as great as we all think.
If you have any thoughts on this rambling nonsense, let me know in the contents.