When writing is more than a job
I’m not a morning person.
Getting up for the day is usually a somewhat painful affair for me, and yet I often set my alarm an hour earlier than I need to.
What is it that motivates me to wake up at an ungodly hour, cursing my own name for setting that alarm in the first place? Writing.
This surprises some people. As a copywriter, I already spend my entire work week writing. For hours each day, I craft sentences, search for the perfect word, and read my work aloud to make sure it flows smoothly.
So why get up early just to do more of the same? “Aren’t you sick of writing?” some sane people might ask.
The short answer is: “No, never.”
The long answer is: writing will never just be what I do for a living. When something is a calling, it truly does call you. It calls you to wake early or stay up way too late. It calls you to drop what you’re doing and hurriedly write down an idea that just popped in your head. It calls you to wake from a dream and wonder in a sleepy haze if the plot of your nocturnal adventure could be a cool script idea.
And while I do copywriting all day, the personal writing that I do offers something entirely different: total creative freedom. I still remember the first time that I started my own blog, and the sheer thrill I felt. There was no brief, no client, no feedback. Just me, grinning at my laptop, saying “APPROVED!” to the latest stream of consciousness post that had poured out of me.
While both copywriting and personal writing feed me in different ways, I reject the notion that there’s a sharp demarcation between the two. So often, there’s this idea that we have our personal hobbies in this compartment *here* and our career way over *here.* But things are never that neat and tidy – and thank goodness for that.
The beauty of doing our creative work, whether at our day job or on our own time, is that it bleeds into every other area of our lives. Creativity begets more creativity. As Maya Angelou said, “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”
I’ve certainly found this to be true as I’ve spent my spare time working on blogs, short stories, poetry, journaling and books. I can feel how all this work stokes the fire of creativity in me and opens up new possibilities. Even though my personal writing is done in the morning, later in the day I find myself led to new trains of thought. After my own creative explorations, I notice how my mind nimbly jumps to different words and ideas that weren’t there before. I can access them quicker, and with greater fervour.
There is a force in all of us that calls out to create something. For some, it’s writing. For others, it’s a painting, a sculpture, a song, or a video. Whatever it is for you, all that matters is that it lights you up. Because we get to take that light with us, everywhere we go.