How I gave up on writing
Have you ever give up on something without even realizing it?
I bet you have been there too. You try to please everyone, and you end up deceiving yourself.
You are at the stage in life when it’s high time you decide what to do. There are people you love who expects something from you. Your parents, your friends, your favourite teacher in high school, your 87-year-old Aunt Philippa. Society expects something from you. Your detractor expects something from you: your disastrous failure. And you feel pulled and pushed in every possible direction. Or, worse, you feel pushed in the wrong direction.
This happened to me.
When I thought I could live without writing
I have always loved writing, but I knew it wasn’t a viable career. It was too aleatory, too uncertain; nothing was granted. It was rational; there were so many good points in support I didn’t even think about it seriously. It was a hobby, not something to rely on.
So I took another road, I enrolled at University, studied chemistry for five years in two different towns and graduate in Clinical, Forensic and Doping Chemistry.
I was happy.
I love chemistry. It gives you a mindset no other subject could ever provide you. You learn to look beyond the mere surface of things, to their structure, to their soul. Chemistry opened my mind in a way no other study could have.
But what was of writing?
I left it behind. I gave up on the dream of being a published writer and let the thought settle at the bottom of my mind. I forget it was there, until I graduated, found my first job and suddenly asked myself “Is this really what I want to do for the rest of my life?” The answer was “Good grief, no!”
When I realized something was wrong
The hard times in the job market plaid a prominent role in it. My first job wasn’t what I had studied so hard for, nor was the second. Writing resurfaced from the bottom of my mind every time I asked myself “what do I want to do?”
And there remained.
Was there something I could do without disappointing everyone in my life? Could I tell my family “Sorry guys, I’ve been kidding. This isn’t what I want to do. You have paid for my studies for nothing”?
No way. But this writing thing was forefront in my mind.
Then I got sidetracked again. My first temporary job ended, I found another temporary job and then another. I was anxious to find my place in the industry; I devoted myself to finding a more stable position, bringing CVs around, sending e-mails, studying for interviews.
Searching for a job was a job in itself. I wanted to make time for writing. I knew that was my chance to prove I could do something serious about it, but the constant anxiety of not having a real job was eating me alive.
Finally, I found a job. The anxiety was gone. My boyfriend and I decided to go living together and then get married. I had everything I could have wished for.
When I realized I couldn’t live without writing
But that wasn’t enough.
I needed passion in my life. I needed writing.
I knew that before. On some level, I have always known that writing was part of my life. I knew it when I pretended to take notes during high school lessons and instead was writing my Harry Potter fan fiction, when I secretly read the brochure of the writing school I dreamt attending, when I started working on the idea for my first novel between a chemistry exam and the other.
But only then, only when I had satisfied other’s expectation, I dared to admit to myself writing was more than a mere hobby.
I started carving out moments for writing, in the morning before going to work and during my lunch break. I started planning, trying, failing, trying again and failing again. I put all my passion in this and made some progress.
And the question I can’t help but ask is what would have happened had I started earlier with the same resolution? What would have happened had I spent less time worrying about other’s expectations and more time figuring out the way to fit all together?
Obviously, I can’t say. What I have learnt is it’s never too late to pursue your dream.
What’s your passion?
Now my question is, what’s your passion? What are you doing to transform it into something more real? Is there anything more you can do about it?
But more important. Is there anything I can do, any encouragement I can give you?
Share your story of passion in the comment.