I’m trying to get used to the idea of identifying myself as a writer. You see, men don’t identify with a profession unless they’re actually getting paid for it. I suppose, technically, I do get paid for my part time gigs. But the fiction is still at hobby status. I know society wasn’t always this way. We once had these things called “apprentaces,” who worked for room and board at most, receiving in exchange some great on the job training.
When you think about it, though, many self-employed professionals probably worked for free at the beginning of their careers. A trucker probably has to drive a lot of miles to pay for his rig. A private-practice dentist will drill and fill a lot of molars before that student loan is paid off. And the average novelist will complete four novels and write over one-million words before he sees a (very small) advance, maybe even a royalty check or two big enough to pay for his next writer’s conference.
There is a difference between the job you do to pay the bills and the career you choose because it’s your calling. Most writers have a day job. For every J.K. Rowling, there are thousands of part-timers, most of who will earn about a buck an hour if they do the math.
Yes, it’s Sunday morning. And all this is going somewhere.
Christian writers are a different sort because we believe in God’s calling. Some He called to be prophets. Some to be teachers. Some to be preachers. Few make a decent, if any, wage from their calling. All grow rich in His blessings and receive a reward beyond imagination when this life is through. While few of us actually hear God’s voice, many of us find ourselves returning to the one place where we find peace. Like Jonah, when we try to flee from our calling, we get eaten by fish. Okay, not really. But I can honestly say that, when I try to walk away from this “fruitless” hobby, I feel as if a part of me has been cut off. I have no peace.
A secular writer may call it passion. That works as well. Though friends and family may use the term “obsession.” We mock what we don’t understand.
I’ve been told there are people who don’t like to write. While I find this odd, I must accept it. For you, my Christian friends and neighbors, I wonder what you keep returning to that brings you peace, but not much in the way of pay. Is it your kids? Politics? Quilting? Perhaps God is leading you. If you only stop fighting against His urging, you may find that peace.
So where is it that you feel God leading you today? I’d love to hear from my writing and non-writing friends.