A Writer Who Doesn’t Write

I’m a writer who doesn't write and a painter who doesn't paint. I’ve seen some inspirational advice on the internet about self-identity in the creative fields.

“You are a writer if you write, not if you are published.”

I’m somewhat published. Ish? But that article I wrote for that one obscure doll magazine something like eight years ago doesn’t quite seem to count. Not to me. Maybe it should, but ultimately that’s not the point.

I’m a writer.

But I’m also a student in college studying computer science and so I barely have time to do all my homework and eat the occasional meal, never mind the ever elusive quest for sleep. Writing? You can forget it. Especially anything of a creative, non school-related nature.

I’m a painter.

But I barely paint. Or draw. See reasons above for why I don’t write.

I’m also interested in origami. And knitting. Basically if there is a creative aspect to it, I’ve dabbled. And I suppose it’s my fault for being so interested in all of these pursuits. I’m always the person that grabs onto to things so tightly. I want to do this incredibly well and for the rest of my life! I cry. I don’t know how to be a hobbyist of anything so I’m always stuck in a sort of agony, with so many passions, and no time to pursue any of them.

I had a conversation with my significant other once about what I wanted to do with my life. I graduate in December after all. One of the reasons I chose computer science for my major was the job security. I love programming, but it isn’t on the same level of my passion scale as, say, writing or painting. I am neck deep in student loans which a creative life at my skill level just can’t pay off, not even in an unreasonably long time.

We talked about how if I want to pursue a creative profession, I would need to throw myself at it, completely. And I suppose I agree for the most part. Writing and painting exhaust me, but knowing that I had to do it or I would starve would motivate me like nothing else. But I also want some sort of security. I want to know that if I have an off day that I will still be able to pay my rent. That I can still afford a fairly comfortable, if not luxurious, living.

So the best solution would be to have a day job and then do my creative work in the evenings. But then I would face the same problem I face now. So little time and so much to do. I have so many creative fields I would like to pursue that I wouldn’t have enough time on any given day to work on all of my creative projects. I wouldn’t be able to gain momentum on any one of my endeavors because in order to keep up with everything else I would at best have to cycle through all of them. Work on writing one day and painting the next…

No one really has an answer for me. Dropping some of my interests isn’t really an option. I’m stuck. The frustrating part is that no matter how long I think about this, or who I consult on the matter, no better ideas surface.

I’ll keep chipping away as I’ve been doing. With any luck something will come along that will help me make a decision more firmly planted in one direction or another. For now, I will continue to be an occasional writer and an occasional painter and full time student.