Many people want to become writers, and many of them have a tremendous amount of talent. But almost always, the young writer decides that he needs a backup plan. For example, he might say, “I’ll take a job as a tech writer and plan to write on the side.” Or “I’ll take a job as a computer programmer or work as a dentist.”
Eventually, the writer finds himself with a career, and his writing gets shoved back further and further in to the corners, never to escape. Very often, after years of regret, the writer will try to make a go of writing, but she’ll often find that the constraints of family expenses and the time involved just don’t allow for a transition to a writer’s life. The dream may soon be gone forever, becoming nothing more than regret.
As a college student, I studied several things in my early years. I was a straight-A student in marketing and business management for a year, but then went to pre-med. Though I’d worked as a butcher when young, I found that I didn’t have the stomach to become a surgeon, and so I began looking seriously at my backup plan—writing. Perhaps I could make writing my primary plan and do something else if it didn’t work out.
I quit studying medicine and dove into writing, thinking that it if I couldn’t sell my writing, I’d perhaps take a job as an editor.
Well, the writing career took off much faster than expected, and my “backup plans” were cast by the wayside. Oh, I do still do some editing and teaching but mainly for fun. A guy has got to get out of the house once in a while. But I keep myself focused on writing, and here’s my backup plan: more writing.
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