Becoming a writer

4 5 1 becoming a writer 1 2 1 .

My career path has been shaped by fear and expectation. I had a fortunate upbringing, sheltered from financial struggles, but when I was in college, my mother went through bankruptcy and I began to understand financial insecurity. I dropped my pursuit of journalism to become a C. I convinced myself that I wanted to be an accountant. Isn’t it funny how we trick ourselves into seeing the silver lining?

I’m just 25, and yet I feel as though parts of myself have been obliterated: my creativity, my genuineness, my passion. A few months ago, I had a dream that I wrote a book. The dream was so powerful that it woke me from my sleep in tears. When I have a bad day at work or feel hopeless about figuring out what’s next, I think about that dream. How do I get closer to it?

Do I quit my mediocre-paying job with benefits to work as a barista and figure it out, or do I stay becoming a writer it, though I feel depleted? Do I find a way to care less about work? Cheryl Strayed I think you had that dream because writing is for you a powerful call, C. But also remember there’s a whole lot between having a dream and making it come true.

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I suggest that you begin by doing it. Sign up for a workshop or take a vacation and spend it writing. Steve Almond Adam Smith talked about the invisible hand of the market. What you’re experiencing is the invisible hand of art, the desire to pursue a life of creativity. But it’s unlikely to lead to financial security, at least in the short term, which is important to you because of your mother’s experiences. So you have to do what every artist does: find a patron.

CS In asking these questions, you’re undoing some of the ideas you absorbed that led you down the wrong career path, C. That’s exactly what you’re supposed to be doing at this moment in your life. There’s an enormous sense of regret in your letter, but your job as an accountant is a part of your experience that will likely contribute to your writing someday rather than detract from it. SA What matters to artists, and writers in particular, isn’t the quality of a particular life, but the quality of the attention paid to that life.

And that includes your own life, Career Purgatory. I think it’s awesome that you’re a C. That’s a world I know nothing about. CS So what you’re hearing from us is go. But know that going in the direction of becoming a writer may look different than you imagine it will. Maybe you need to quit your job as an accountant to pursue your writing.

You don’t have to feel hopeless about what’s next. A version of this article appears in print on , on Page D2 of the New York edition with the headline: How to Become a Writer? I Was Abused as a Child. How Do I Deal With This as a Parent? Is there a way to pursue our creative and intellectual passions, and still make ends meet? George Saunders and the Sugars advise.

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I knew how many sacrifices my parents had to make for us to be able to move to the US and I wanted to make them proud of me.

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