As a novelist, I’ve always been the odd one out. I don’t want the same things out of life that other people want. I don’t want a 9-5 desk job somewhere with reasonable benefits. I want to write books for a living, with all the uncertainties and ups and downs that goes with that. Not the norm.
When you’re doing things your own way, it can get lonely. There is no clear path for a career in the arts. But there is one thing I’ve learned along the way that I think applies to more than just writing careers:
If you have a different destination in mind, you can’t be afraid to be weird.
Mr. Johns and I are huge Dave Ramsey fans. If you haven’t discovered him yet, he’s a financial adviser with a massive radio show, and he advises people how to get (and stay!) debt free. Now living debt-free isn’t the norm in North America, so if that’s your plan, you need to go against the flow. Everything will try to lure you off that path!
The thing is, when you go against the flow, you aren’t going get popular support. That’s true in your financial decisions as well as your other life choices, but it is very, deeply true. If you want to arrive at a different goal than the other people in your life, then you can’t be making the same choices that they’re making. That includes what you do with your time, your money, your priorities, your kids, your relationships… You’re going to look weird. You’re going to be judged. But at the end of the day when you’ve finally achieved your goal, you’re going to have something to show for it.
Dave Ramsey says something that makes me laugh:
Basically, if people who have different goals from you think you’re crazy, then that’s a good thing! Start to worry when they agree with you a little too much. If that’s happening, you’re going to be sharing a future… and that might not be your goal!
So toughen up, princess! Being considered odd isn’t so bad. At least you know you’re on the path to something different.