Many people have a life that’s set in stone. They have a steady nine-to-five job, a mortgage, and kids. They have their plan and they stick to it. A ‘normal’ life, that most people accept, conform to, and live. Whilst there is nothing wrong with that whatsoever, my life isn’t like that.
'Suck it up—being a #writer isn’t a real job.' Chrissie talks abt the creative struggle.
Quite simply ‘normal’ life gets in the way.
Creativity doesn’t pay much, and the bills never stop. I have a house, and something always needs doing. I have a car, and they need servicing and can be expensive to run. I live in a country that’s cold and damp during winter and the oil tank constantly needs topping up.
So, lately I’m forced to become two people.
A creative person, and a ‘normal person’.
My normal persona sees me working nine-to-five in an office, either as a temp or on fixed term contracts. I actually make a good PA, Office Manager or Admin Assistant, I have a multitude of skills and can do the jobs I’m given with my eyes closed. Most of the time I get good feedback and my contracts often get extended.
But I don’t wholly enjoy it.
I get pigeonholed into start at nine am, have lunch at midday, leave at five pm. Go home, eat, go to bed. Repeat.
The monotony of going to the same place day in day out and rigidly sticking to the same thing completely contrasts with the liberal creative in me who is able to get up, and start work whenever they want, and enjoys the challenge of writing or painting something new, challenging and exciting. I get torn between doing what I love and doing what I have to out of sheer necessity.
Many people look at me in horror when I try and discuss it.
- “But of course you have to work a normal job, isn’t writing just a hobby?”
- “We all have to work and do things we don’t enjoy, that’s life.”
- “Suck it up, being a writer isn’t a real job.”
They are just three comments I’ve received of late.
I get it. I really do. And I’m not saying I don’t want to work. I actually like working. I just want to work my way and for me, that means writing and publishing books or freelancing.
Whilst I’ve done okay so far, the money I currently earn writing and freelancing isn’t enough for me to be solely sufficient. So, I still have to temp or take on a fixed term contract, nine-to-five. I’m forced to split my time into two lives and go and do something that sucks the energy from me and disheartens me.
When I work on my own stuff at home I work twice the hours and twice as hard with no distractions. When I work in an office it’s soulless, and I’m often surrounded by office politics I don’t really care about, and it takes me away from my creative focus. I often end up feeling like I’m playing catch up, and my motivation wanes.
I don’t know what the answer is, but I do know that I’m not alone. Many of my friends are actors, musicians, writers and photographers and they’re all in the same position. Their creativity pours out of them and they try so hard to keep going and do what they love, sometimes without much success and little reward. Sadly many end up being forced to do other jobs, or give up their creative careers altogether just to be able to survive and live the ‘normal’ life expected of them.
I know many people reading this would probably tell me, and others like me, that it’s time to give up, but that’s the problem.
Being creative is part of us and it’s in our blood. To us being creative is our life, it’s who we are and what makes us, and it’s something we just can’t walk away from.
Have you ever been torn between wanting to do what you love and having to do something else that is seen as the right thing to do, instead? Do you think that being true to yourself is more important than conforming to the norm just for the sake of stability and money?