About two years after I started trying to write professionally, a friend of mine staged an intervention of sorts. He approached me very kindly and asked me how my writing was going. I told him my frustrations and I told him the truth – I didn’t have much of anything going on. He asked me how I was supporting my family and I admitted that I wasn’t doing a good job of that. Then, he gave me one of the hardest choices of my life. He offered me a job. A career really.
The job involved writing. I would be writing instruction manuals for appliances. I would be making more money than I had ever made before. I would have benefits, stability, and I could provide for my family long-term. I asked him if I could think about it overnight. He said that was fine.
So I wrestled all night with my options. Give up on my dream in exchange for stability, or stay the course and continue chasing what I really wanted. I imagined myself writing things like “put bread in open slot on toaster, push handle down until it locks, REMEMBER – toast will be hot when fully cooked”. And I realized that taking that job would be the death of me creatively. I could have suffered through it, but life is too short to just suffer through. I thanked him and turned him down. He thought I was crazy. Everyone thought I was crazy. Maybe I was/am.
But I kept chasing. And I caught that dream many times over. There were days when I wondered if I had made the wrong choice. Many days. But, my creativity is alive. I love what I do each day. And every bit of sacrifice was worth it.
So, when people ask me “When do you give up on a songwriting dream?”, my answer is “When giving up the dream feels better than chasing it.” The joy really is in the journey. If writing feeds your soul and makes you feel whole, never give up on your dream.
Posted on June 12, 2016 by Clay Mills