A Fundamental Shift
What would I do if I couldn't be a writer?
(this post is based on the Marketing for Romance Writers 52 Week Challenge)
You remember that story about my favourite banker? The one who asked if my book was like Nicholas Sparks, and then proceeded to break all my biases about what a 23-year-old male banker might do in his off-time by gushing about The Notebook?
You can read about it here. Go on. I'll wait.
So the part that isn't mentioned in there is the part where he said "How long have you been a writer?"
And I, poor naive idealist that I am trying to be, said "Well, I mean, I think people who are writers have always been writers. They've got old notebooks of bad poetry and angsty stories from when they were kids. They wrote fan fiction before they knew it was a thing. It's just how their brains are wired."
At this point, my 23-year-old banker is looking a little uncomfortable. He glances at me from behind his computer screen.
"No. I need to know how long you've been working as a writer. I have to put an employment date in your file."
So all this to say, I'm not answering today's question, because it's not like asking me what I would do if I hadn't gotten my biology degree, or what I would be if I hadn't worked in Marketing.
Writing is what I do. It's how my brain is wired. It took me a long time to admit that to myself, because I was trying to be a scientist, or a marketer, or whatever sounded impressive at family gatherings and parties. I tried not to be a writer, despite all the little signs pointing me in that direction (you can read about those here. Chances are there are little signs for you too, whether it's to be a writer or a beekeeper).
I know this sounds all full of self-importance, like those people who go on American Idol and say "Singing is my passion and this is my one shot" and then belt out Mariah Carey off-key. Fine, I'm one of those people. Because I am a writer, and to ask who I would be if I wasn't would be to ask me to rewire the way my brain works and that sounds painful.