Sometimes I feel guilty about being a writer. Like, what I do is not supposed to be a job, and why do I (and other artists) feel entitled to be able to just do this thing and not have to also do other stuff? (Don't hate on me yet, people; I'm going somewhere with this.)
This article was just in the paper. It's about a highly educated novelist born of highly educated immigrants. He's writing novels that get great reviews, AND he is going to med school. This seems to be what practical people do: "I want to write, but I'm not going to ask for a GRANT for chrissakes. I'll write at 5:30 in the morning for two hours before I start work." This is the Stephen King thing I was ranting about a few months ago, this weird Protestant work ethic thing where I am wracked with guilt if I only write the things that make me feel happy and complete and good and like I'm actually expressing myself through the written word.
On days when I work on paying projects, I feel like, "Okay, good, I'm worth something today." On days when I work on possible-future-projects, or spec fiction, or anything that qualifies as art, I just HATE myself, even if what I wrote is really really good.
This is terrible!
On the other hand, I'm so awe-inspired at people who can do BOTH.
But I mean -- I don't know if I can do both! Unless I take a month at a time to ONLY do one or the other -- make a shitload of money and then coast (moneywise) for a solid month where I only do fiction. I have done that before, now that I think about it. It'd be better if I could divide my days up, but maybe I have to divide my years up instead, and just accept that that's how I work best. And then -- who's to say if I still have my fiction mojo? Maybe I'm killing myself working as hard as I do on the (relatively) lucrative journalism because I fear defeat. ouch, I don't like to think about THAT.
I have no answers, I just was struck by the article and consumed with envy.