This morning Joe and I went on a long bike ride, then grabbed Panda Express for lunch because now that everyone is gone, the kitchen is officially closed for a few days. (Unless you want a bowl of cereal. In which case, help yourself.) After eating we reached for a fortune cookie, making a big deal about it because the first fortune cookie of a New Year is IMPORTANT. But before I reveal mine, allow me to backtrack …
Yesterday I was going through my emails when I noticed that Amazon had sent me a list of recommended reading. Number one on the list was How to Make a Living as a Writer.
Huh. I cannot even begin to tell you how serendipitous that was.
Just a few years ago, Joe was doing our taxes and made an interesting discovery. Our eldest son (at that time, a Clemson college student), who had an engineering internship during the summer and another one over the Christmas holidays, actually made more money that year than I did as a writer.
On one hand we were laughing and saying, "Yay, Nicho!"; on the other hand, I was like ... DANG.
I love writing, but for all the heart, soul, blood, sweat and tears I pour into it, there's not a lot to show for all the work. At least, monetarily.
Sometimes this bothers me. I mean, who doesn't like to get recognized for the work they do? It's nice being told you are getting a raise, or given a bonus for finishing a project, or called up on stage to receive an award. It's nice being told you did a good job, or that you are making a difference.
But whenever my thoughts go down that road I pause and think of those who work hard, sacrifice to make ends meet, get up early in the morning or work late into the night, and who do all this without expecting anything in return except good health in order to get up the next day and do it all over again. In a society in which popularity is measured in Facebook likes and Twitter shares, and where recognition is given for throwing a football or for the latest hit song, the Real World is full of those who do what they need to do and that's it.
Hard work is not always celebrated. Or recognized. Success is not always measured in dollar signs.
So in the end, I am perfectly okay with the fact that my taxable income isn't indicative of my hard work, or that when people ask what I do and I say writer ... they still want to know what I do. Like writing is a pretend job, or something.
Anyway, back to my fortune cookie. Here is what is said:
You have the ability to excel in novel areas.
Ability. Excel. NOVEL.
I think I’d better get writing …