I swear, this month has gone by so damn fast! I’m still convinced it’s actually March and someone’s punking me. I didn’t think I was old enough yet for the distortion of time to really set in, but I guess I am. Wish it would distort a little more while I’m on the clock.
Anyway, since I’ve spent the while month talking about journalism, and how much I love it, you might be wondering why I’m not a journalist. I know it’s something I asked myself a lot when I first graduated.
In fact, I had a recruiter from SRU in my journalism class, who went into detail about how I, an already pregnant 17 year old, could succeed as a journalism student. There were grants, she told me, and child care options. I could do it!
I could have done it, and one thing I want to make clear to everyone is that my daughter wasn’t what held me back. Or, at least, not in a ‘I can’t do this thing I want to do’ way. My decision to not become a journalist came from a very personal place, and a lot of things factored into it. Some of those reasons, my ex wouldn’t have moved with me, my mother thought I shouldn’t, I was scared out of my mind, are stupid and should never have held me back. It took me a long time, a very long time, to realize the difference between a legitimate reason to not go after a career and a damned lame excuse. Those were damned lame excuses. After over a decade, I know I made the right choice, though, because of these actual reasons.
My kids come first
And that’s a choice I made. I could have been the kind of parent who brings work home with her, works long hours and has a well chosen caregiver who looks after her kid. Heaven knows that’s what most people think I do anyway, given the stigma of working moms. But I wanted, above all, to be able to leave my work at work. I wanted to have time with my kids, and be as much a part of their lives as I could, even though I didn’t want to be a homemaker. Professional journalists have a really hard time doing that. They work a ton of hours, and often have to do crappy things like work overtime, bring work home and travel. Quite frankly, I didn’t want that to be my life, or my little Monster’s lives. Please also understand that I do not blame anyone who makes a different decision than me. I know that there are lots of parents that are passionate about their careers and they spend a lot of time on them. They are not bad parents, they’re just different kinds of parents. God bless your path, whatever it is my friend.
Full disclosure! I do write at home, and yes it does take up mommy time. But if I have to drop it, I can. If family time is going to interfere, I can put my creative writing aside and pick it up again tomorrow. Could I do that for my journalistic writing as well? Yeah, sure I could. Blow off work for an evening and get up early to get it done. But, quite frankly, I would have had to abandon my creative writing, at least for a time. More on that later.
I have a serious political bias
If you’ll recall, last week I complained for a whole post about what’s wrong with mainstream media. One of my big problems was a bias that journalists can’t seem to avoid. But a journalist is supposed to try to avoid it.
I can’t avoid my political bias. Further, I don’t want to. I want to be very clear where I stand on any issue, and I cannot find it in myself to silence that. Creative writing allows me to be honest about my opinions without damaging my principles.
At some point, I knew that Journalism would become a ‘day job’ for me
I’ve worked on Woven for over two years. Yes, writing is my job. But it’s also my passion, my art, what I do to create something new for the world. It makes me feel accomplished. Journalism would have, at some point, become much like my current day job. I like it, but I’d rather be writing.
And this is what it really comes down to
I like being a story teller. I like writing about dragons and witches and magic. I like telling ‘what if’ stories. I like making worlds up and living there! At the end of it all, if I’m going to spend years waking up early and going to bed late, working in the seconds I’ve got between mommy stuff and my day job, then I need to have a constant, never ending driving passion. I have that passion for speculative fiction, and it has driven me my whole life. I have written for years without making a profit and in fact losing money on the deal. (That’s okay. Most small businesses lose money their first year, and most small business owners don’t plan on making a profit for at least five.) I wouldn’t have done that for journalism. I wouldn’t have done that for painting, the military, ballet, police work or EMT work. (All careers I’ve considered and rejected.) The only thing that’s kept me up at night, working in every crevice and second I can find, is my stories. I want to tell my stories, to however small of an audience I have. And, thanks to all of you, it’s not that small at all.
If it had just been one thing or the other, I might have pursued journalism. But it wasn’t my passion, and that’s why it didn’t happen.
I can’t say I regret it.