|03-01-2010, 01:05 PM||#1 (permalink)|
Join Date: Nov 2007
It was a great advice, until it was directed at me
Before I begin, here's my current situation.
I'm 23 and live in the Netherlands. I'n in my third year of the Dutch version of college ("HBO", for those who also live in the Netherlands, total needed is four years) and doing an internship for the rest of the schoolyear. Next year I'll need to follow two times ten weeks of classes and then a 'graduating internship' (no idea how to translate this) for twenty weeks to get my diploma. I already have some kind of 'lower' college degree ("MBO"), though it's not as fancy as HBO. I needed the MBO degree to move onto HBO. Stay with me please.
So, here I am. I survived the first two years and made it halfway through the third one. I'm now doing an internship and if that goes well, it's off to the final year and that shiny college degree.
Problem is: it's not going well. It's not that the classes are too difficult or I'm having trouble keeping up. Nothing like that. However, I'm having extreme trouble keeping my eye on the ball, because it keeps drifting off to the novel I'm writing. When I'm supposed to prepare a report, I'm writing my novel. When I'm supposed to be having lunch, I'm still writing my novel. And when it's time to go home, I hurry to the train as fast as I can, so I can sit down and continue writing my novel. I can't help it!!!
I want to make a living as a writer. I don't care if this means surviving on ramen and sharing an apartment with that creepy pigeonlady down the street (well, okay, maybe a little...). I, like many artists in pretty much every field, am doing this college gig because I feel it's important to have something to fall back on. And I have to finish it too, because the government has me in a chokehold. Dutch students get a small amount of money every month, plus a special license that allows them to use public transportation for free. If I get my degree in a set amount of time, those will be gifts. If I run for the escape pods, I'll have to pay back every penny they have given me the past two-and-a-half years, plus a hefty fine for the transportation licence. And when I say hefty, I do mean it. I'm talking thousands and thousands of euros here. And those numbers will be added ON TOP of the money I'm already borrowing to support myself so I don't have to get a sidejob that will cut into my writingtime. Ka-ching! Hey there, creepy pigeonlady, do you have an outlet for my laptop in that cardboard box of yours?
And there's more to worry about than how I'm going to write while freezing and starving to death and having to clean pigeonpoop off my keyboard. There's the people in my life, who would rather not see me quit.
First, my current boss. He only pays me 200 euros a month and can't keep our place properly heated to save his life, but dammit I like the guy! Bailing on college would mean bailing on him, and I would feel terrible about that. Is it a bad excuse? Well, maybe, but I did get his hopes up when we discussed what I would do for his company during my internship. I feel like Santa calling in sick on Christmas, which is not like me at all, since "screw you!" seems to be my default attitude in life. Of all the times to grow up and develop a sense of compassion...
Then, my parents. They are my kryptonite. I will walk around naked while munching on a kitten if I feel like it (though I really like kittens ), but I'll do pretty much anything they say if it makes them happy. And God, Buddha or Batman help you if you try to harm them in any way. Trust me, you'll want to be sure you've had all the children you want, because you won't be creating more of them anytime soon, you sick, twisted...
Ahem... to make a long, violent and graphic story short, we're very close. And they're very proud of me for doing so well in college, because they've seen what happened to some of my cousins who flunked out. In fact, they let me live at home at no cost for as long as I'm still in college. Seeing as I'm 23, asking for rent or grocerymoney does not seem unreasonable to me, but they won't do it because they want to support me. I'm very lucky to have such kickass parents backing me up and dropping out of college now feels like the ultimate betrayal. Hey man, thanks for the liver transplant! Now where can I score some booze?
Lastly, there's my younger sister. She was a real rebel as a teenager, dropped out of 'lower college' ("MBO", I wish I knew how to properly translate this) and was well on her way to become creepy pigeonlady's creepy neighbour, but my own college endeavor inspired her to go back and make something of her life. If I flunk out now, I'll be like the angry drunk mother who tells her straitlaced daughter she can't have a beer. She'll never look up, or listen to me again.
It's so easy to tell others to screw it all and follow their dreams. After all, why continue climbing a ladder that is standing against the wrong building? But when I stop climbing, I won't just land on the floor. I'll crash through the ground and end up in Australia.
What should I do?
P.S: Two things that could tip the scale either way.
Pro-quitting: I know I'm good enough to earn a decent living with my writing, or I'm very close to that level of skill. My writing always wins me prizes and there are two books of me published in a 'young talent' series. Sales were bad and, in hindsight, so was my writing at the time (it was eight years ago), but that already puts me way ahead of many other wannabe Kings and Rowlings. It's only a matter of time and even my mother believe this (when I say I fear I won't like the job college will get me, my mother always says "well, it's not like you have to do it the rest of your life, only until you make enough to live off your writing". And she's not suffering from 'special snowflake syndrome' either). My father is more of a 'I'll believe it when I see it' guy, but not in a 'why don't you get a REAL job!' way. It won't be easy, but I can do this.
Pro-college: my debt will be lower when I make it to the finishline, and most importantly: it won't shock my mother, who has spend the last two years recovering from a stroke (and still she'll always be handicapped). No one can prove it, but she suffered from major stress back them and I still fear this may have triggered it. I'm terribly afraid that her oldest (and supposedly wisest) daughter taking such a leap will cause her enough stress to cause another stroke. She's already under pressure because my younger sister is getting married and things have to be organized and stuff, so if I dump this on her now... I'm afraid I'll be that final straw. And no book is worth another stroke.
Last edited by Ninja; 03-01-2010 at 01:38 PM.
|03-01-2010, 09:42 PM||#2 (permalink)|
Join Date: Nov 2006
Even talented writers often take time (years, not months) to get published. The more common advice from published writers isn't "follow your dreams," it's "don't quit your day job."
You can spend another year in school, working on your novel part-time, and graduate with the qualifications to get a job -- and part of a novel finished. Or you can quit school, and end up in debt and with fewer job prospects, but with a completed novel... that might not sell. Many (if not most) writers don't sell their first manuscript, including people who have go on to become very successful.
Follow your dreams. Just don't walk off a cliff, when there's a slightly-longer but much safer path.
|Thread||Thread Starter||Forum||Replies||Last Post|
|Good Advice For Advice Givers And Takers||TaylorLord||Character & Contribution||21||06-26-2009 01:52 AM|
|great to be here!||dami||General & Introductions||1||05-16-2008 11:40 PM|
|Great to be here||gerber||General & Introductions||2||09-21-2007 03:18 PM|
|Great advice for kids...||Shamou||Character & Contribution||24||05-19-2007 05:00 AM|
|Advice on this would be great...getting past a stressful situation||m0vingon||Emotional Mastery||14||04-16-2007 04:33 PM|
All times are GMT. The time now is 08:09 AM.