Throughout our lives, we’re expected to hit certain milestones along the way. This begins in early childhood, with a record being kept in our medical charts. At what age did you first sit up without help? When did you crawl?
The achievements get more difficult as we get older, and though the record (hopefully) is no longer kept in our medical file, someone is keeping a record.
Whether it’s well-meaning family or friends, it seems someone is always asking a pressing question about a milestone society believes you’re past your expiration date on.
The same applies with the job you have.
Years ago, when I was an office manager and someone asked what I did for work, I could say, “I’m an office manager,” and they accepted my answer.
No one wanted to know what else I did, if I qualified to be an office manager, why would anyone listen to me as an office manager, or any other ridiculous questions about my position.
But the moment I tell anyone I’m a writer, I get these questions and more.
I don’t mind explaining what kind of writer I am. I’ll gladly talk for hours, if someone is genuinely listening, about the writing I do, where I’ve been published, and what I hope to accomplish.
What I mind is being looked down on, treated as if my job is a hobby, and asked when I will get a real job.
Gods help me if I delve into the fact I also write about sex and sexuality. Then, I’m not just being ridiculous. I’m apparently a whore.
You don’t have to be a New York Times Best-Selling author to be a writer and make a living doing what you love. There are people on this very platform who cleared a six-figure income last year and never wrote a book.
What they did is exactly what I do every single day. They showed up.
There are writers here who have degrees and some who don’t. There are people who have years of life experience related to their niche and some who are learning along the way.
No one gets to say you’ve not lived long enough to have experience. Your story is yours to tell. In the realm of personal essays especially, life experience doesn’t come with age so much as the things we’ve experienced on our journey.
I learned a long time ago, the length of the journey has nothing to do with the number of potholes we encounter.
Your vulnerability and individual voice go a long way.
Your readers will know if you’re being authentic. It doesn’t matter how many degrees you hold, how old you are, what gender you are, or where you’re from. If you’re not being authentic, if you’re writing from someone else’s point of view, or if you’re remaining neutral people will click away.
If I were out here writing pieces about bitcoin, I would understand someone calling me on the carpet. I know little to nothing about bitcoin. Sure, I could research it and learn something, but it’s not what I’m interested in pursuing, so anything I write will show that.
No one will want to read it because it will be clear I’m writing it to garner views.
Owning our place in the world of creativity is important. Regardless of what society or those around us believe, there are no magical boxes we need to check off for what we do for a living.