I’ve come to hate the idea that, if you make what you love into your job, you never actually have to work. This isn’t based on any kind philosophical approach, or from the aged bitterness of having a summer job. It’s based on the fact that, for some time now, I have been doing what I love, and it takes a whole lot of work.
I love writing. Whether it’s writing about anime, creating fiction, or just blogging like this, writing is what I love to do. And while I have yet to convince anyone to give me money for what I write, I still do it, I enjoy doing it, and I put a lot of work into it.
Today I wrote for eight hours (and counting), on two different projects. The first is a sci-fi series, heavily inspired by 80s and 90s anime, which may eventually find a home here. The other is a fantasy novel that I’ve been working on since March, and am actually making real progress on. That is a big deal for me.
Ever since I was thirteen, being a writer has been my only dream. But for years I couldn’t get past more than a few, unedited, typo-ridden, poorly planned out chapters. This is the first time I’ve seen myself make major progress in a project, and it wasn’t because I just liked this one more. At times, I’ve hated it.
What made the difference this time was work; was the amount of effort I’ve been putting in every single day. I got into a good work habit around March, handling the last stretch of my university career. This transmitted to my writing as well, and I’ve managed to keep it up now into August.
The notion that loving your job means you don’t have to work seems to come from an idea that “work” means something you’re only willing to do for pay. That is, if you would do something even if nobody paid you for it, then it’s not work. And that itself comes from the idea that work is bad.
Work is not bad. Hating your work, having to do it grudgingly, and not being able to do the work you’d do for free is bad.
It’s not easy to get up every day and say, “I’m going to get this much done. I’m going to sacrifice hours of sleep, weekends, socializing, and even video games, in the name of doing this thing that I have no expectation to profit from.”
In my experience, you work hardest when you’re doing what you love, because slacking, doing sloppy work, or taking a day off can feel like letting that love die. Love, itself, takes work to sustain. But when you can put in the work, and you look back at the end, it is the most rewarding job you can do.
I am working very hard, at what I love.
Don’t Lose Your Way