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“Do what you love”: writing as a passion VS profession

The age-old adage “do what you love” carries undeniable weight. Yet, when applied to writing, the path between burning passion and a sustainable profession can be hazy. Should you dive headfirst into the publishing world, fueled by the sheer joy of crafting sentences? Or is it wiser to approach writing as a dedicated hobby? To preserve its purity while securing financial stability elsewhere?

The adage “do what you love” isn’t necessarily wrong. But it can be misleading in today’s economy due to several factors.

The allure of the passion project

Writing as a passion ignites the soul. Words flow effortlessly, fueled by genuine enthusiasm and a desire to create. Unburdened by external pressures, you explore stories and styles freely. You hone your craft with each keystroke. This intrinsic motivation breeds unparalleled satisfaction. It makes the journey itself deeply rewarding.

However, passion alone rarely pays the bills. The reality of traditional publishing is notoriously competitive. The odds of commercial success are slim. Building a substantial following online requires unwavering dedication and strategic planning. This is often beyond the scope of pure passion.

Financial reality

Passion doesn’t guarantee income. Many beloved hobbies struggle to translate into financially sustainable careers. Publishing, for example, is highly competitive. Other creative fields often require long hours and low starting pay.

The cost of living also complicates this ideal. In many regions, the cost of living is rising faster than wages. This makes it difficult to survive solely on income from a passion project. Especially in the early stages.

Many individuals also enter adulthood with student loans, mortgages, or other financial burdens. This makes pursuing a less lucrative field a riskier proposition.

Unbalanced advice

The adage also ignores systemic inequalities. The “do what you love” advice often overlooks access to education, resources, and mentorship. Not everyone has equal opportunities to pursue their passions.

It can also oversimplify career choices. Many fulfilling careers involve elements we don’t inherently love. Like admin tasks or dealing with difficult clients. The advice can push people towards unrealistic expectations.

Some other essential skills, like budgeting or project management, may not be inherently exciting. However, they’re crucial for success in any field.

Alternative perspectives

You could find passion within your existing skills. Consider exploring passion within your existing skillset. Or explore hybrid roles that combine your interests with practical skills.

Put your financial security first. Don’t discount the importance of financial security for mental well-being. It may be better to pursue passion projects later.

Find meaning and fulfilment in your work. Even if it isn’t your ultimate passion. Do this through factors like helping others, learning new things, or having a positive impact.

Remember, finding a fulfilling career path is complex and personal. Consider your circumstances, financial needs, and long-term goals. While passion is important, a pragmatic approach based on reality and exploration can lead to a more successful and satisfying journey.

The balancing act

For many, navigating this dichotomy leads to a hybrid approach. Writing becomes a dedicated side hustle. It’s nurtured in the stolen moments between responsibilities. This allows you to explore creative avenues while maintaining financial stability. However, finding the time and energy for both can be challenging. It requires careful planning and unwavering discipline.

The key lies in understanding your priorities. Let’s say financial security is paramount. In this case, consider writing as a cherished pastime. Savour the joy it brings without relying on it for your livelihood. If the dream of a writing career burns fiercely, be prepared for the commitment and resilience it demands.

Beyond the binary

Remember, this isn’t an either/or proposition. Your relationship with writing can evolve. A passion project might blossom into a published work. Or a fulfilling career might allow you to write less frequently, but with greater focus and impact.

Fueling your fire

Regardless of your chosen path, nurture your passion. Read voraciously, participate in writing communities, and hone your craft. Stay informed about the industry, and explore diverse publishing avenues. Remember, even if writing isn’t your sole profession, it can still enrich your life and touch the lives of others.

Ultimately, the decision rests with you. Listen to your heart and assess your priorities. Remember that joy, purpose, and financial stability can coexist in your writing journey. So, write passionately, explore strategically, and most importantly, write for yourself. Because in the end, that’s where the magic truly lies.