Monday, October 13, 2014

Follow Your Passion

I found this article at Daily Kos:
Telling a child, or an adult for that matter, not to follow their passion is wrong, and trying to determine a career path at such a young age is criminal. What kind of society will we become if we stop dreaming? Who will reach for the stars? Who will create the great works of art, the next great American novel? Who will be the next Elvis? Who will figure out the next breakthrough in energy creation? If we don't follow our passions, if we don't dream, we fail as a society.

Following your passion and doing what you love is not about a job, it is really about a life journey. Everyone has different talents, everyone has different passions. Some people were born to write, others were born to weld. But everyone should have the opportunity to discover what they were born to do and then have the ability to chase that dream. They may fail, they may have to change course. But at least they will never look back and wonder, "What if?"
I have mixed feelings about 'follow your passion.' It's comparatively easy to do if you come from a well-off family and can get an education and access to the field you dream of. The more money your family has, the easier it is. It's a lot harder, if you are poor. Sometimes, you don't even know that the thing you love -- or would love -- exists or that it's possible to make a living from it. Poor kids know that it's possible to make money from music and sports. But what else?

Writing is one of those jobs which people dream of. But it's hard to make a living at it. Most of the writers I know have a spouse or partner with a steady job, or a day job of their own, or both. If they are truly free lance, they hustle like crazy. Right now, genre writers are expected to produce two novels a year. (It used to be one novel a year.) And they are expected to do most of their own promotion. A lot of writers are self-publishing their backlist or novels that they weren't able to sell to publishers. So they do the entire job, or hire people to do it: copy edit, design the book, get or make cover art, produce the e-book version, handle marketing and sales.

I guess my response to 'follow your passion' is, do it, but know what you are getting into, and have a plan B if things do not work out. Know how you are going to pay the rent, and have a plan for retirement. The chances that lightning will strike, and you will have a best seller, are not great.


Blogger Peg said...

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7:59 AM  
Blogger Peg said...

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8:00 AM  
Blogger Peg said...

(Sorry for the reposting; too many misspellings.)

You need to be following Zen Pencils, which is all about this topic (among other things):

See the latest comic here:

Also this one on Neil Gaiman's "Make Good Art"

8:01 AM  

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