“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”– Confucius
I’ve always loved that quote. I spent a lot of time waiting and wishing for the chance to live it. After all, who likes work? I longed for a career I could be passionate about, one that would make me excited to get up and get to work every morning.
Writing was that job I’ve always hungered for, my chance to never work a day. I’ve lived and breathed writing for so long, it’s hard to believe I can finally sit down and focus on doing it. But it was also a harsh wake-up call, because if nothing else, the whole experience has taught me that Confucius was wrong.
Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do. I still live and breathe it, I’m still passionate about it, I still want to do it with every fiber of my being. But no matter how much I enjoy it, and no matter how much I want it, one fact will remain forever: Writing is work. And hard work, at that. There are some days it’s grueling, some days it’s more like torture. There are some days where I can spend hours sitting in front of a document, struggling to hammer out just my daily minimum goal of 500 words. And there’s some days I don’t make it.
The thing is, as soon as something is connected to being work, it changes everything. You can love your job, but it’s still going to be work. And if your hobby becomes your job, it, too, becomes work.
There’s a whole different world of stress that comes from knowing that it’s no longer something you do for fun – Now you have to do it, you have to stick with it and be successful, or else how will you pay the bills?
The real difficulty comes in keeping that knowledge from destroying your love for whatever it is you do. I’ll be honest. If my husband and I were in a position where we required a steady income from me, I couldn’t make this my day job. Not yet, at least. I am fortunate in being allowed the opportunity to pursue what’s really important to me, but there’s a very real reason they’re called starving artists. It’s difficult enough to succeed without the pressure of knowing you must.
So while Confucius was certainly wise, it’s hard to say whether or not that quote comes from his own experience, or just wishful thinking. What do you think?