Do the Write Thing
When I was in college, we used Netscape. Prodigy was new. I got a brand new PC with a Pentium 4 chip and a 200 MB hard drive. And it was fierce.
I wanted to be a writer. I chickened out. I went into the Army out of college, but that was not for me really. When I got out, I found myself married and needed to earn some bucks fast and hard. So I went into sales. And I stayed there. And I made a lot of money, kind of, over the years. And we got houses, and cars, and kids, and vacations, and new and better computers.
But here is the deal — I hated it . I hated selling. I was good at it, well, pretty good. Well, good enough, right? But I hated it. Every minute.
I hated my suits, I hated my bosses, I hated my short hair, I hated the travel (OK, I loved the travel, but whatever), I hated the phone calls the emails the letters the whiny customers the shifty coworkers the budgets and the goals and the presentations. I hated the cheesy lingo and buzz phrases. I hated the clichés and the lying and the products I was representing. The only thing I liked about it was occasionally meeting some neat clients, expense accounts at the bar, and commission checks.
I always managed to find some way to include some writing in my jobs — web content, sales letters, product descriptions. I built my first website for the company I was working for in 2001, and as a side hobby I’ve built dozens and dozens since. I taught myself Photoshop and studied graphic design and typography on the side. I learned HTML and WordPress and Drupal, and the ins and outs of web hosting. I wrote when I could, and found some stuff published here and there.
None of it was my job, though. It was not what I was paid to do. It was something, but then it clearly became not enough.
I was a lost soul on the edge of oblivion. I was hollowed out, man.
I left the corporate world in 2010; I stopped chasing the dollars and started chasing my dreams. I committed myself to doing the things I loved — writing and website building. Most importantly, I insisted on doing them only for people and organizations that I respected.
Eventually I got a check. And then some more. It started happening, you know?
Now, it is not easy, but we’re doing it. It’s not the kinda-cushy life I had even a few years ago, but it is closer to the kind of life I thought I would have when I was 17 and ready to take on the world. What I didn’t know then is that some of the hardest battles you face as an adult are the ones against yourself.