What does “living the dream” mean? I get told a lot that I’m doing it, because people are genuinely pretty chuffed that I’m doing it (I know really wonderful people, and yes, I know how lucky I am), but the weird thing is that this actually creates a f*ckton of stress, like I’ll be letting all of these people down if I go back to a day job at some point.
And so, with thoughts of a day job and steady income on my mind, I not only feel ashamed to say as much to people, I also stop engaging in conversations that go down that path, as if I no longer have the right, as if entertaining the thought of a day job is a betrayal of the dream.
But … is it? I know I can write books (whole series, in fact!) while holding down a day job. I remember, fondly, when I came home and couldn’t wait to get writing because that was the high point of a day, that was my escape. That’s not the whole story, of course – that particular job came home with me emotionally more often than not, and often I was tired and stressed about self-imposed writing deadlines. But neither the day job or the freelancing is inherently better for me, and it’s not inherently better for the writing, either.
So, my question is this: if my bread and butter money comes from a day job, and I can delight in the very act of writing, and laugh and shrug my shoulders if a book finds a tiny core of passionate readers but never makes a bestseller splash … is that no longer “living the dream”? I don’t think so. I think any life where you get to pursue and enjoy your art is living the dream.
Art lives first in the creation. As long as you delight in what you make, it doesn’t matter if you’re a bus driver or a chamber orchestra player, an attorney or an author. As long as you’re making that art, you’re living the dream.
So – high five, all of you out there doing your art.