Monday, September 1, 2014

Labor Day: I'm still writing

Do you feel like being a writer is a career choice or a calling?

by Meredith Cole

Most writers I know tell a story about being that child who obsessively fills up notebooks with writing and sneaks away to read while other kids are playing sports. I am definitely no different. I have a row of journals going back to when I was seven, and many memories of spending hours alone with a book. I felt like I always wanted to be a writer and I always have been. So for me it was a calling. But it took years for it to become my career.

My career has been interesting and erratic. Time spent working in film and television stretched out to years and years. If someone asked me what I did in my twenties, I would say "director" or "writer/producer." I started novels but did not finish them. I finished screenplays but did not make them into movies. I felt strangely dissatisfied. I gave myself deadlines so I would finish projects. And then finally I joined a mystery writing critique group that helped me keep going and finish my book. But I didn't see it as a career. It was something I did between all my other obligations and it certainly didn't pay very well.

It really wasn't until I had a printed book that I gave myself permission to call myself a novelist. And say it was my career. I still do other things to pay the mortgage. I work in marketing. I teach. But because I continue to sneak my writing into the cracks of my day, because the pages pile up and I continue to reach readers, because I am occasionally paid for my labors -- and because on this Labor Day I am writing and revising a novel -- I am a writer.

So is writing a career choice or a calling? I say both.

Happy Labor Day everyone!

6 comments:

Paul D. Marks said...

Meredith, I think you're right, it's both. But once it's inside you you have to write, no matter how little or infrequently. It's just who you/we are.

Meredith Cole said...

Thanks Paul! I was off gallivanting at the beach all day yesterday, and was glad to see a comment from you when I returned...

Edith Maxwell said...

I have missed your books, Meredith! Please tell us you'll have a new one coming out soon?

Triss said...

Hi, Meredith: So glad you are still writing and hoping to see a new book from you when it is ready. As my lifetime of quitting writing but writing not quitting me shows - career and calling.

Triss said...

799Hi, Meredith: So glad you are still writing and hoping to see a new book from you when it is ready. As my lifetime of quitting writing but writing not quitting me shows - career and calling.

Meredith Cole said...

Thanks Edith and Triss! Right now I'm still writing/revising a book I've been working on for two years. I'm happily starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel...