It was just a few days ago when the inevitable happened. Someone very close to me asked what I was doing with my life, in addition of course, to raising my three children, volunteering, being in a marriage, tending house, and all the other tasks that compose my to do list. They did include (graciously they thought) "dabbling in writing" just before asking me if I planned on going back to work and again asking what I was going to do with my life.
I seem to have a tendency to desire to do things that don't make much money, I must admit. Before finding a great passion for riding, and pre-children, I worked with horses, training them, teaching riding, running barns, rescue work, etc. Not, let's say, the most lucrative of professions. As I got older and began to heed the call of literature I found that, for the most part, unless of course some miracle occurs and the stars magically align, I wasn't going to make a plethora of money. I keep hope alive that someday I might of course, me and all the other writers I know!
Writing, however, is work. It is a great joy (most of the time), a pure expression of emotion, and thought, and passion for whatever subject the author is writing about, but is also work. There are days the words don't flow, days that I really struggle with it, not to mention the re-reading, editing, polishing, promoting, cover design, and the millions of other tiny details that need attention in order to produce any piece of literature. It is, without, question work, and something many people struggle with. So I find it almost fascinating when someone asks me what I am going to do with a free morning and I respond with "work" and they give a small, sardonic smile and practically pat my head as I leave. Yes, it's true, I may not be J.K. Rowling, Maya Angelou, or F. Scott Fitzgerald, or any number of wonderful authors who have lent their heart and souls to us through their writing, but writing is my chosen career and while it is my passion, it is also my work.
Making a career out of writing takes heart, faith, and unconditional, unquenchable hope. It is akin to the farmer planting all his seed in his fields with the promise of a crop the next year instead of feeding livestock or selling the grain at market. It is the dancer giving their all at the audition, the rider pushing their horse over the final jump in a jump off. It is more than a source of income, it is a passion, it is an intake of breath, it may just be one of the few true careers, something that inspires us and fills our lives.