Like most beginning writers, I work a day job so that I can continue to write without worrying about pesky things like paying the bills. It's not something I particularly enjoy doing. First of all, it involves customer service, and those of you who have been in customer service know how annoying that can be. People tend to be even more stupid than you originally think.
Next, I work in a registry. That means that I do things like issue drivers licenses, car registrations, marriage licenses, birth certificates and lots of other things that people associate with government buildings and long lines. Except that in Alberta Registries are privatized, so I don't actually work for the government. I don't get any of the benefits of a government job, but still have to deal with things like fines on accounts that people don't want to take responsibility for and getting yelled at for policies and laws that I obviously had nothing to do with getting them put in place.
It's not horrible either. I've worked some pretty bad jobs, especially in the years where I didn't know what I wanted to do. Those years were a string of bad jobs while I settled on five different career choices I could have before moving on to another one.
Still, if there's one thing I've learned over the last year and a half, it's that I want to be a writer. I'm never happier than when I'm writing my current project. Even editing, tedious as I may find it, leaves me at least with a feeling of accomplishment. I'm sure that my family probably thought it was going to be a temporary idea of a career path when I first started on this journey, just like all of the other ones. The thing is, this is the first thing I've found that I can actually see myself still doing in three years, ten years, even when I'm old and ready to retire. This is what I want to do.
Unfortunately, writing isn't one of those careers that you can throw a resume at, hope for a good interview than work your way up. Instead it takes spending a lot of time on a manuscript, query letter, tag line and synopses. It requires you to send out this project that is basically you baring your soul to complete strangers and praying that they like it as much as you do. It means getting rejection letter after rejection letter until you find the right fit with an agent, publisher or even just deciding that you would rather self publish.
It's a grueling process that not everyone can get through, and I sometimes wish that I could find something easier to do with my life, but I know that this is what I want to do.
For example, last Wednesday there was an incident that brought down nearly all of the systems that we use at the registry. We thought it would be up the next day, but in fact we didn't get up and going until yesterday morning. That means that I basically had 5 days where I was either off or worked shorter hours.
I was worried about the money at first (we worked it out in the end, so I'm not worried about it anymore.) but that was until I realized how I was actually feeling about this break. I used the extra time to write, to plan and to edit. I basically buried myself in the writing process, and by the end of the day on Monday, I was in a great mood. I mean, I don't remember the last time I was in this good of a mood.
Going back to work on Tuesday and working 10 hours took away from that feeling, but now that I've had the tiniest taste of life where I'm not working two full time jobs making sure that my bills are paid while still doing all the writing I can, I know that this is all I want to do. I want to be published. I want to make enough money to survive off of writing. I don't want to have to dread going into work every single day for 8 hours, just to feel too drained to do anything when I get home.
While I can't rush the process of writing, I can commit to it. I will be published one day. Eventually you're going to see D.C. Menard on the shelf at your local bookstore, and I'm going to be able to go down to part time or even quit, and then I think I will be pretty damn happy.