“The only thing I was fit for was to be a writer, and this notion rested solely on my suspicion that I would never be fit for real work, and that writing didn’t require any.”
– Russell Baker
Today is my third day at a minimum wage job. As far as of these jobs go, I got really lucky. The staff is nice, the job is a great cross between busy and quiet, and best of all, I can to smell like desserts all day.
You wouldn’t think that last one is such a big deal until you work at a Chinese restaurant and all your clothes between to smell like old oil and chicken.
Naturally, my absolute need to be a published writer is on my mind as a motivation for working. It’s my first answer when people ask me about my dream job, or any personal goals (except perhaps to raise children with a brilliant sense of humor).
Working here after 4 years of college is confusing to me, my parents … And probably many other people. So I find solace in the knowledge that we all find our own paths to success.
I also find solace in knowing that most writers start out this way, no matter how brilliant their work is eventually considered. Except perhaps for those aristocratic backgrounds who rarely seek employment of any sort. Let’s consider those the exception.
I think of writing and getting a consistently paid job as two full jobs, but I know for a fact a lot of people do not think of writing as “real work”. But that’s all right. I write to make myself and my readers grow as people, and so it doesn’t hurt (too much) when I hear that opinion from friends and family.
Overall, I found Baker’s words really appealed to my darker writing persona, but I do not give that side of me much leeway to convince me to dwell on the unfortunates in life.
Do you agree with Baker? Do you or writers you know mostly write as a secret/side activity while they fulfill society’s expectations by getting a “real job”?
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