Closing the book on the book?

Photo courtesy of Death to the Stock Photo

Photo courtesy of Death to the Stock Photo

Women entrepreneurs are my day job. I council them, I console them, I cheer their successes and commiserate their failures. I listen to them. And in the end, I sell them space in a trade show.

I’m really good at my job. Because I was them. Once.

Last April, after a long, dry spell of no productions, slumping book sales, no income, and few prospects on the horizon I was forced to take a personal inventory of my self-employed artistic aspirations. Add in the shifting state of the publishing and filmmaking industries, my credit card balance, and all my other bills. My future, I had to admit, looked bleak. So I did what I had to do.

I found regular employment. I now commute wearing J. Crew separates, attend staff meetings, and watch Monday morning motivational videos. Weirdly, I kind of dig all this. I also get out to other trade shows and business events, and that’s where I often find myself scribbling down any funny tidbits of overheard banter (because you just never know when those gems might come in handy) (guess I’m still writer at heart).

Yet there’s no more of the freestyle, cowboying, shoot-for-the-stars-or-die-trying bravado left in me. Writing professionally is something that I used to do. I’m making decent wages now. Less than I made in my production/publishing gigs, but more overall.

Do I miss my old feast-or-famine artist’s life?

The truth is yes. Sometimes I do. In those moments, just like magic, my office line rings and I’m catapulted into another woman’s uncertain future. I council, I console, I cheer, and I listen…. because even if I’m not traveling her path anymore, I still relate to her. I just don’t want to be her anymore.

After taking the last two decades to pursue creative ambitions, is it wrong to want security?

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About Jamie Brazil

Humor writer, romance novelist, Bloodhound enthusiast.

Posted on March 9, 2015, in Auth: Jamie Brazil, General and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. I used to have a sign in my office that said. “When you are in the middle of something, everything looks like a failure.” Many creative people feel this way. Not everybody should be self-employed. I applaud the fact that you’ve sorted out the difference in your life. Plus I agree with Maggie. This is today. Tomorrow will be different.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. At a reading, a young aspiring author asked me if it didn’t stress me out to have a day job and write. He shared that he didn’t think he’d be able to cope with having a job interfere with his creative time. It would drain too much energy out of him.

    I answered that not being able to pay the rent is stressful too and a murmur of agreement went though the older members of the audience.

    Like Maggie says, sometimes we need to take a pause from the creative self in order to feed other emotional and external needs. That doesn’t mean we’ll never be creative again and sometimes we end up being even more creative when we return back to the muse.

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  3. We all need security at some point. Some of us just did the security thing for twenty years and then turned to the insecure artistic life. Others do it your way. Then there is that group of people who are “kept.” They have someone in their life who supports them financially.

    I say do what you need to do. There is nothing saying because you have a day job you can’t still write if you want to. You may find, now that your financial needs are being met, that your artistic mind is actually able to focus even better because you don’t have the dagger of potential starvation or homelessness hanging over your head. 🙂

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    • Thanks Maggie. I am still writing, but making the switch from one type of lifestyle to another has been a bit daunting at times. I’m teaching a pitching class next week, too… not entirely out of the game 🙂

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