So you want to be a writer?

If you can’t be talked out of being a writer, allow me to serve as a voice of reason. Just understand that you will want desperately to write about the things you are passionate about and get paid your dream salary right out of the gate. But the world doesn’t reward such randomness.

There seems to be a time-honored tradition of paying your dues writing content that is made to grab attention quickly and keep it long enough for advertisers to plant their insidious seeds. Much of what you will be tasked with is just to get eyes on the page and keep them there for that short, fleeting amount of time. It will not be your dream audience or the content you ache to get out. It will just be work for the sake of making a living.

What will make you different is if you can successfully compartmentalize that kind of work as a necessary evil while also maintaining that burning desire you have to write about your passion. I have a limited amount of success doing this, as I seem to find writing an all-or-nothing proposition. Either I exhaust all of my creative energy writing the paid work, or I can utilize the same store of energy to write about the things I care about. The writing I do off the cuff about things that interest me does nothing to take my energy away, acting as a kind of nourishment. But that nourishment doesn’t seem to help with the paid work, so it just results in the act of creation and the associated thrills without the money.

But if you’re anything like me, this impulse to create is impossible to deny and you seek all avenues to express yourself. So just be practical enough to know the difference between the content you want to write and the content that will pay your bills. If you happen to be one of the unicorns that found a niche that lights a fire in you and also pays for your living, you have my sincere congratulations as well as a large helping of my envy.

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