October 27, 2021
When I was working as an engineer, I wrote as a hobby. I squeezed in whatever time I could get over the weekends and wrote stories and travelogues. It felt quite normal and it went on like this for 7 years. I was earning my living and using my free time for a creative endeavor. All was well. But I started panicking when I wanted more. I wanted to write full-time and it scared the life out of me. So many questions – How can I leave my job? Isn’t it irresponsible? Am I that talented to pursue a writing career? Don’t you need some strong reason to switch careers? For almost two years, I lived fighting with myself, tormented by these questions. Then I took the plunge.
After 3 blissful years of writing to my heart’s content (I write both fiction and technical content), I realize this. You don’t need to be entitled to lead a creative life. You don’t need to be super-talented to pursue something you love. It’s not a crime to try and earn a living from what you love to do. I think in India we have this notion – to pursue a creative line of work, someone has to initially prove they are great at it, while they work on a ‘real’ job. I know many engineers quit their jobs after they reached a certain level of success in a creative field. But I think they are not the rule, but just an exception. So, what if someone wants to pursue a different field, maybe not lucrative as the earlier career but still afford to make a living? Well, in our social setup, it’s tough.
I am slowly building a writing career, both in fiction and freelance writing. I have never had a ‘super-star moment when things just fell in place. I am sure no fairy godmother will appear and turn me into a successful writer. Nonetheless, I have experienced the joy of doing something I love. I am sure people have many reasons not to pursue their passions full-time. All I am saying is, our society makes it super-difficult to leave a lucrative career and settle for something that ‘seems’ less ambitious.