I’ve been lucky. Most of my jobs/careers over my lifetime so far have been interesting and fun. That made spending time at a job worthwhile, even when it took me away from other interests.
I have found as I grow older, I am less likely to want to spend time doing things I find no value or interest in. But I also understand that bills need to be paid and it is foolish to walk away from good work just because it doesn’t meet one-hundred percent of my creative criteria. The secret is knowing something needs to change.
In the past, it was working in visual effects. I wanted to work in movies. The formula was learning and practicing as much as I could outside of my current job, and when I was confident in my ability, I made the leap. It’s worked for the most part. Screenwriting was a nut I couldn’t crack due to discovering I had no faith in the Hollywood system. It was a crushing realization, but I held onto writing.
Today, and over the past year, my focus has been writing fiction. It’s what gets me up in the morning and it’s what I spend every spare moment thinking about. I’ve made a commitment to it and again, I’m preparing while I’m still gainfully employed. That’s the key. But there will come a time when I will need to walk away from the day job, a steady paycheque, in favour of my writing and the unknown, the uncertain. That decision will seal the deal, and making it will be damn scary. I like a constant paycheque like anyone else, but not at the expense of my creative soul.
I am reminded of a quote from Steve Jobs. Even though he was a tyrant who treated the people under him cruelly, his words to the media were often very wise.
For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.Steve Jobs, Co-founder, Apple Computers”]
The answer for me has been “no” for a while now. I know what that “something” that needs changing is. How about you?