Monday, February 7, 2011

A Room of One's Own

But, you may say, we asked you to speak about women and fiction -
what has that got to do with a room of one's own ?

Today, via The Happiness Project, I learned about a blog called Quiet: the power of introverts in a world that can't stop talking, written by a woman who wrote a book with the same title.  Given how much time I spend thinking about what it means to be an introvert (since, actually, I have only kind of recently realized I am one), I was drawn to it.  I think one of the great truths about change is that in order for a change to feel right, you have to make sure you are not struggling against your own nature.  Hence, the thinking about being an introvert. 

One post I found particularly interesting and relevant is entitled 5 Tips for Finding Work You Love.  The tips are (in a nutshell, and as applied to me specifically):

1.  Pay attention to what you envy.  I do not tend to envy other lawyers, unless I happen to come across a lawyer working part time.  I am envious of friends that I have from college who have jobs involving books.  Reading them, writing them, writing about them, editing them. 

2.  Ask yourself what you loved to do when you were a child.  Now, this is not to say that I should become Captain Planet, but the point is that there may be hints or elements of what your ideal job is, if you think back to what you enjoyed.  The problem is, when I was a kid, I didn't really stick to one occupation as my "dream job."  I did enjoy reading books though.  A lot.  When I was in 6th grade, I used to devour a book a day.  Sometimes, if I have no other obligations, I still allow myself the pleasure of reading all day long, stopping only to eat, and sometimes get some exercise so I don't get a headache.  I can still get through a book in a day if I allow myself.

3.  Pay attention to the work you gravitate to.  There are elements of practicing law that I do enjoy.  I enjoy drafting work and editing.  I like taking a piece of work and writing it carefully so that it says exactly what I want it to, with minimum opportunities to be misconstrued.  I like trying to think of words that can mean only one thing, when that is important, and words that can mean many things, when that is important.  I like working with something I've already written, and making it better.  In fact, it's one thing I have to struggle against with this blog -- the urge to go back through previous posts and rework and edit them over and over again.

4.  What makes you cry?  This one is hard -- when you think about doing something with your life, what brings up a disproportionately emotional response.  I know what I have an emotional reaction to.  But that emotional reaction makes it hard to admit, in writing, in public.  I'm rather afraid of saying what it is that I get worked up about when I think about doing it, because it brings up all my insecurities.  Namely, that I am not particularly good at the thing I wish to do, which is something that about 1/4 of the world wishes to do but most people aren't good enough at to make a living doing.  But at this point, I am sure you can get a pretty good idea of what it is.

5.  You may think I’m conflating work with life purpose here.  I.e., if you find work you love, it should be in harmony with your life purpose.  Okay then.  I'm not sure that's so much a "tip", but point taken.

So then, how does one go about becoming a writer, without ₤500 a year and a room of one's own to fall back on?  I think that maybe the reason I am having a tough time coming up with a job I can get myself excited about transitioning to doing after I quit the firm is because I actually know what it is that I want to do, I just have absolutely no idea how to go about doing it.

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