The Reluctant Professional

Books & Writing September 8, 2014

A Brief Essay of How I Plan to Escape the Professional World to Become a Writer

I found out I was supposed to be a writer a bit too late, and ended up as a corporate professional by accident. I entered the higher education machine* in 2003, and it spat me out in 2010 with a professional doctorate degree and a crushing mound of student loan debt. Don’t get me wrong, I applied to college, and I applied to graduate school, and I am proud of my accomplishments and the associated degrees. I should have known what I was in for. But, I thought that going to grad school was just what I was supposed to do; I never paused to consider whether I actually would enjoy being a corporate cog.

Writer Keyboard

Over the last year I’ve struggled with my current career path. I’ve always enjoyed writing, but I never took a breath to realize that writing could actually serve as a viable career. Now, at age 29, I’m working toward phasing out of the corporate world to become a writer. I have four years of experience under my belt with my current company. I make enough money to pay the bills, but not so much that I can save up toward not working for a while to pursue my writing. In sum, I need my job, or at least a job to support my family.

I have been writing more, both for profit and for fun. I’ve submitted proposals on sites such as elance and fiverr for some work here and there. These proposals, in addition to providing some supplemental income, help me build my writing portfolio. I welcome any opportunity to write, and appreciate the opportunity to be paid for it even more. In my spare time (of which there is little), I am writing my first novel. (Technically, it’s the third novel I’ve started, but the first two were duds. Hopefully third time is a charm!) I’ve discovered that becoming a writer is more just my desired career path, it’s my passion. Writing provides a release from my day-to-day monotonous routine of the professional, corporate world.

My plan is to escape the professional world a little at a time. Though I don’t have one foot out the door, at least the door is opening. With each commissioned job I gain a little more confidence as a writer, a little more happiness with the idea of writing for a living, and a little more insight about how my life would look as a full-time writer. Though I haven’t fulfilled my dream to be a full-time writer yet, my suggestion to any aspiring writers who can’t afford to give up their day job is just keep your nose to the grind. Write. Write for anyone you can, including yourself, as often as you can. Don’t give up on your dream. Things will fall into place.

*I like to imagine higher education (or, more appropriately, the associated student loan industry) as a “griever” from The Maze Runner: a big mechanized blob of a machine designed to destroy.

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