Long ago, in an editors’ meeting far, far away, we played a little game. We went around the table, and each of us took a turn saying what we would be doing if we weren’t editing. The choices were interesting. One of us wanted to be a landscape architect. Another of us wanted to be a chef. I wanted to be a meteorologist/storm chaser. (Hey, The Wizard of Oz was a big hit at my house, even if the best part happened before the Technicolor kicked in.) I think someone in the meeting even said they wanted to be a writer, which I guess was too close to what I was already doing for me to think about choosing it.
In these tough times with unemployment being what it is, plenty of people are thinking about changing careers. It’s not an easy thing to consider, especially if you spent a long time in college and a lot of money learning how to be what you currently are. Plus, if you are struggling to make ends meet in a current career, changing jobs can feel like admitting defeat. But changing careers can also be a breath of fresh air. It can take you to new places and to greater heights than you ever imagined. So what if that journalism degree led you to a reporter’s job that turned into corporate communications when all the reporting jobs dried up? If you can be happy and make money doing a new thing, why not jump in with both feet?
None of this is meant to be discouraging, nor is it meant to encourage you to give up writing. The opposite, in fact. No matter what else you are doing, you can always keep writing if you decide it’s time to focus your career on something else. That’s the wonderful thing about being a writer. It can occupy as much or as little of your time as you can afford.
So just for a minute, forget about the hassle of going back to school, or the drop in income, or the weirdness of changing jobs. If you could change your writing career to something else, no matter what the obstacles, what would you change it to? Would it be something you are inherently talented at, or something you can’t do but wish you could? (This covers all of you who said you would be a professional athlete or musician with instant talent or genius!)