Writing is not a part-time job

I recently found an excellent job opportunity. Great pay, excellent environment, and (probably) good job satisfaction. I’d be working in an upscale environment. The catch? In all likelihood it wouldbe quite busy and harried.

A couple of weeks ago I had a breakthrough in my writing (I’ll try to finish up that piece). It was a big moment for me. The story just started flowing all over again. At the moment, I’m unhindered by a 40 hour work week. As such, I am able to write and work on my novel. 

Creating real art is a full-time job in itself. If one aspires to greatness, one must put forth the effort of those who are great.

I knew when I got an unknown call that it was job related. I was in the middle of eating a slice of pizza while watching Duplicity (which wasn’t that great a movie), so I just let it ring through to voicemail. I checked my voicemail and found that my instincts were correct: I was going to be getting a formal interview.

That’s when I found a little voice, the voice of a piker, talking aloud in my head. I started getting nagging doubts about whether or not I should burden myself with this new job. I recently just had a breakthrough in my writing and wanted to continue while I was on a roll. The new job would require long and unstable hours. And although I would have Thanksgiving and Christmas day off, I would have very likely work the days before and after the holiday.

But this isn’t about my employment. In the interest of securing the possibility of buying more bespoke clothing in the future, I took the interview and, if my past success rate (I get the job roughly 90% off the time I get an interview) is a reliable indication of my ability to secure a position, I will have a new job in the near future. I did, however, mention to some people close to me how I was hesitant to take on the new job opportunity.They responded in a very typical fashion. They suggested that I just take the job because it pays well and is a good opportunity. That much is true. But then they go and say that I will have plenty of time to write, and that I can do it while I am working.

And oh how flawed their thoughts are.

Writing is a creative process. It differs from writer to writer. But here is something I do believe most writers will agree on: the art of the written word is not a part-time job. Be it a short story, novel, or screenplay, the act of creation is no small feat. All things creative require a certain level of dedication and energy in order to produce anything worthy of being experienced. Creating real art is a full-time job in itself, one that requires full-time effort. It is more difficult than most 9-to-5 jobs. If one aspires to greatness, one must put forth the effort of those who are great.

It bothers me that the people I know see writing more as a hobby or a little venture you pursue on the side. They are not true artists and do not understand in the least that powerful and moving pieces are the result of hundreds of drafts and thousands of hours of hard work. One of the keys to good writing is to just keep writing. It takes a boatload of writing until you can find the good stuff, the gems. Once you’ve written three novels worth of material, that’s when you can focus and condense it into the most coherent, relevant, and moving pieces, all to create one masterful body of work. If you keep cutting away at your work as you are working on it, it will never build up into anything. It’s far easier to carve a large slab of marble than it is to glue together pieces of it that were whittled away piece by piece.

Personally, my writing process is of entrenchment. I find it difficult to invent a fiction from thin air. Creating an entire world is no small feat, and I feel most capable when I am in a very particular psychological and emotional spot. It may not be the best way to write for one who aspires to be prodigious, but I find it difficult to write unless I am in the right mood. Getting into that mood is difficult. I just want to write…to work on my novel. This new job may affect my ability to do that.

I never half-ass anything in life. I don’t wish to half-ass my novel. But hey, we’ve all got to pay the bills, and some of the most profound moments that I wish to write in my novel came from a period of time when I was hard at work not on my story but on the job.