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.
I appreciate your write up. I had put one similar question to you during your Interview. There is always a predicament. Human nature is like that. It resists change. It wants a comfortable status-quo. It requires courage to switch over. But in my opinion, simple courage is not enough. It should be after lot of thinking, analysis, consultation and home work. When I look around, I find, several but not a large number of persons, who have changed their profession. Even after the change over, it is not cakewalk. It requires more effort to give excellent performance in the new work. It takes time. It requires patience. And by chance if we do not get success as expected, we ourselves will feel bad, besides our well wishers. Summing up, therefore a very cautious, well thought out and prepared approach is desirable in this respect. This is my view. Best wishes.