Someday, I reasoned, I will find myself in a secure financial position, and then use that as a springboard to launch my dream career – the one I gave up on when I was 24. To make that possible, I needed to pay off my home loan and eliminate all consumer debt. Then I would quit work and become a full-time writer.
Meanwhile, I convinced myself, the goal of doing what I love full time will have to wait. So I downgraded my dream to a hobby. A hobby I worked at like a second job.
When Work Becomes a Job Your Dream Becomes a Hobby
I maintained a strict writing schedule during most nights. After my wife and kids went to bed and for the next 25 years I lived a double life. I became a hardcore hobbyist during the five hour period between 10:30pm and 3:30am. Most recently, I developed a potty-mouthed Japanese emoticon to keep me company…
¡¡¡( •̀ ᴗ •́ )و!!!
It spoke to me: “Write all night and It will come. Write like a mutha fucka, mutha fucka!”
“Who will Come? Who is It!” I asked. Clearly, I had seen the movie Field of Dreams one too many times.
My emoticon had the answer: “You’re It, dumbass. Write longer, sleep less. Your Breakthrough will come.”
OK, nothing like that actually happened. But those late nights were crazy. I was exhausted, getting at most about three hours sleep, typically two. I stubbornly held onto my dream. And someday I’ll make the transition from desk jockey to professional penman.
Burning the late night oil, a term used when whale oil was used in lamps to light homes at nightfall. I stayed up writing, sometimes until I saw the pale blue light of dawn. I believed I could and would succeed. Fiction. Fantasy. The stuff dreams are made of. My career aspirations as a writer were real. I just needed to work a little harder; stretch the night a little longer. I was delusional, maybe even a bit mad.
* * *
I never gave up believing that my novel would be published, or there would be a bidding war between studios for my screenplay. When that day comes, I will quit my office job and live happily ever after. Until then, I’m settling.
Aren’t most of us?
I’ve got a hunger
Twisting my stomach into knots
That my tongue was tied off
My brain’s repeating
“if you’ve got an impulse let it out”
But they never make it past my mouth.
This is the sound of settling