I wasn’t prepared for how hard life was going to be. I had no idea of how much work it takes to succeed. I’ve always taken the easy way out of things rather than the path that was right but difficult. When I entered college, I did it partly because that was simply what was expected of me. The same applies to my choice of major. It was the easiest choice and the most expected given my inclination was always toward composing music. Yet, I was not prepared to do all the work that was required. I was unmotivated, lazy, and distracted as a student. I never did develop the single-minded focus and drive that’s needed to become a professional musician.
Yet to dismiss that earlier failure as the sole fault of my own laziness undermines another factor at work, my values. As a composer, I can conjure a rich tapestry of emotion woven through the fabric of time. It has value for this particular reason, but I wanted to go larger than that. I want to communicate emotion, but I want to explore the realm of ideas. I want to visualize the world in which I want to live. I want to take the ideas that have shaped me and communicate them in ways that are accessible to everyone. I discovered this aspect of myself when I was pondering a career composing music for film, tv, web, etc. I just couldn’t get enthused about spending so much effort to see music I’ve created to tell everybody else’s story. That’s when I realized that I really wanted to tell my own stories. That music was really not my driving passion, but a hobby. Now I might be able to still make some money from this hobby, but I know that it isn’t my core purpose or passion.
As a novelist, I have a second chance to develop a career focus and mindset. What’s different now is that I’m older with a wife and kids. I need to find work that can sustain the family without us needing to rely on charity and welfare. This means not only do I have to concentrate on the long-term goal of the novel, I need to find a day-job that pays 15-17 per hour, or I have to work multiple jobs or start a successful side business while working a regular job.
I am still weighing options, but I am leaning heavily towards starting a side business involving copywriting, small-scale audio/video production for social media, and basic web design. It will allow me to do things I’m already good at and give me the chance to really understand the nuts and bolts of running a business. If I start such a business, I’ll aim to make it my primary source of income asap. I’m tired of doing someone else’s work and not pursuing the work I know that I’m cut out for. I want a business that complements my goals as an author, musician, and thinker.
The only thing that holds me back is the question of family. Any business endeavor needs a significant commitment of time and effort in order to succeed no matter what the level of ambition is for its owner. I suffocate in a dull 9-5 environment. I get lazy and complacent. I want to be in business for myself. I want to build something that can grow with me. I want to develop the freedom that will allow me to write and publish the best works of fiction and non-fiction that I can muster. If I am to succeed then I feel like I have to put family on the back-burner. Anyone who’s been around my family knows that despite our best efforts there is always some element of disorganized chaos in our home. I love the time I have with my wife and my kids now, but I need to change what I’m doing in my professional life as it’s not sustainable in the long-term.
Life is full of tough choices, transitions, and changes. I will meet this challenge.