So my family and I are in the middle of a move. By that, I mean that I'm the only one dealing with anything remotely related to moving next week while the rest of them continue on business as usual. (Not that I have any expectation of my 1 year-old packing, but my husband? Er, maybe.) Anyhoo...
I've been cleaning out closets and filing cabinets and drawers and every other nook in which I've stuffed stuff over the past few years and have uncovered loads and loads of papers and articles that I've written since the inception of my career. And it's been such an interesting thing, to look back at this stuff. When I was 22 and a new college graduate, I never imagined that I'd forge a career as a writer. I would have loved to, of course, but it just seemed unattainable, ridiculous, almost.
So I got a job in PR. When I realized that PR wasn't for me, I pursued my original passion: acting. I did some off-broadway gigs, got my SAG card via several commercials, moved to LA (via a brief stop in Dallas for a doomed romance), and after a while, realized that, guess what? I wanted to try something else. So I moved back to NYC to co-found an internet company, and that's when my writing career started to come into focus. But not even intentionally so. I wrote a slew of web copy and articles for the site (many of which I found this week in a folder in the back of a closet), and eventually, when the internet bubble burst, I emerged with some semblance of a writing career.
The point of all of this is to say that life is long and winding, and whether or not you achieve immediate success as a writer, that holds no bearing on whether or not you'll achieve success in the future. Or even if you'll still aspire for the same things in the future. If you told my 22-year old self that I'd be making a living as a novelist, she'd be elated but shocked - at 22, it just seemed seemed so far outside the bounds of what I could achieve.
Life as a writer means being the tortoise; it means understanding that small steps are still steps toward the finish line; it means accepting the fact that instant gratification is just a pipe dream. But if you allow things to snowball and roll down the path toward where they're meant to go, sometimes, if you're lucky like me, you might find that you end up in the just the right place.
So tell me, what was your first job? Was it wildly divergent from where you are now?