I always wanted to be a writer.
But when you tell people that they think you’re crazy. If people tell you that you can’t earn a living writing for long enough, then you will begin to believe it and I did.
I chose to pursue a career in science, particularly chemistry, thinking that maybe I could write as a hobby.
Off to university I went.
I enjoyed chemistry, I am also pretty good at it, but I sucked at being poor. I was barely making ends meet (in fact the ends weren’t meeting I was horribly in debt and failing uni because I couldn’t devote enough time to it). So I quit uni and got a job working full time.
Notice at this point that I had failed to become a writer and to become a scientist. Now I was lifting heavy things for a living.
I learned two things while I worked that job.
1. Manual labour jobs suck.
2. I really hate them.
But I paid off all my debts and banked a little in advance. With many of the pressures I’d encountered in my first attempt at uni taken care of, I decided to go back.
When I tell people that I didn’t think I could be a writer so I decided to become a scientist, they generally mock me and say “Yeah that’s the logical next choice.” But to me, both jobs are getting paid for using my brain, rather than using the strength of my back, and that has always appealed to me.
My second attempt at uni was better than the first. I decided that I would not work while I finished uni and that made all the difference. I could get all of my uni work done and still get enough sleep. But I was living off savings and they were drying up the same way they had before.
Then, on December 15 2011, Christopher Hitchens died.
What I loved about Hitch was his contrarian attitude. Both in his writing and in debates he made excellent arguments that, even when I didn’t agree with them, were impassioned and impeccably constructed.
I didn’t expect Hitch’s death to hit me as hard as it did. My thoughts at that time were focused on what an awesome life he lived, how he had followed his passion, and how that passion was clearly the prime motivator in his life.
I examined my own life at the time and found it wanting. I had focused on my runner-up passion because of the money (that was totally working out!). Being poor sucks, sure, but I feel like living a passionless life just to pay the rent is worse.
I didn’t throw my education away and run off to be destitute while making art. I decided that a balance needed to be met.
I would finish uni and get a day job. I also would try to build a writing career. If the writing took off, then I work less day job days and slowly spend more time writing until I was writing full time. If it turned out that I sucked at writing, then at least I would have tried.
I can think of nothing worse than a life where I wonder whether or not I could have followed my passion.
Right now I have finished uni, I'm working a crappy day job, and I’m at the early steps of my writing career.
Will I succeed? I don’t know. Maybe this website will simply be a monument to how right everyone was about writing as a career.
But if you like my work, then I guess I’m one step closer to living my dream.