I’m not going to lie and say, “I get asked this question a lot,” because the truth is no one really cares/asks me why I am choosing to pursue writing. I think you have to be a successful writer for that question to come up a lot.
However, I ask myself this question. A lot. Every time I pay the hefty Pepperdine tuition I reevaluate in earnest if this is really what I want to do.
You see, before I was a wannabe writer I had a whole other life, career, masters degree. Before I was a wannabe writer I was a real-life, actual, accredited social worker. See: quarter-life crisis.
When I ask myself, “Why writing?” a few things come to mind.
I think about the stories my mom tells of me obsessively writing as a child. (More on The Chronicles of the Porcelain Doll later!)
I think about the day I visited every library in Salt Lake County because I love libraries and books That Much.
I think about one of my favorite bloggers, C. Jane Kendrick when she said, “On a lifetime tightrope walk with sanity, writing had kept me tiptoeing.”
But really, why writing comes down to one specific moment for me. It’s strange that it does, because most epiphanies in my life have been painfully gradual. But in the case of “why writing,” it happened one day in London.
I had moved to London in a blaze of passion and determination. I had always wanted to live in London and always assumed that there, in London, that’s where my real life would begin! The amazing, wonderful life that I was always destined for! Look out world, here comes Jill Denning!
And then London was hard. Oh-so hard. And I had to reevaluate everything–my life, my dreams, my career.
In this state of crisis, I talked to a much-older, much-wiser friend. Her response was to quote Vincent van Gogh,
Your profession is not what brings home your paycheck. Your profession is what you were put on earth to do. With such passion and such intensity that it becomes spiritual in calling.
This friend asked me, “Jill, were you put on earth to be a social worker?”
I shook my head. No. If London had taught me anything it had taught me that.
She continued, “What then?”
I actually don’t remember what I told my friend that day, if I was brave enough to say “writing” or not. Honestly, it doesn’t really matter. The question stuck with me.
It stuck with me when I made the decision to return home to America. It stuck with me when I made the decision to quit social work. It stuck with me when I applied to Pepperdine. And it’s the question that still goes through my head about every time I pay that hefty Pepperdine tuition.
I think van Gogh said it best.