Sometimes I wish I wasn’t a writer. It can be lonely, working in my head, in solitude.
I often wonder where I would be if I had stayed where I was. In an office with my name on the door, overlooking a bustling downtown street on the outskirts of Boston. I sipped my coffee and watched business suits skitter around on lunch, my coworkers running errands at the market, and children in lines on their way to and from the local school.
I was working with a team, towards a collaborative goal. We had meetings and weekly check-ins and working lunches and onsite visits. There was always someone to rely on for something, always someone to check in with for something. Never did I make a decision without clearance or approval or a form from government entities that allowed us to “do the thing” that might as well have been in Spanish.
There were timelines and deadlines and consequences for missing them. It kept us on our toes, in line, following a process. The tasks were generally the same with each shift. You started your day the same and ended it the same.
There were people. Physical people whose eyes met my own. Who reached out and placed a supportive hand on my shoulder when times were tough. People who checked in to make sure everything was on track, offering assistance or an extra coffee on a busy day.
Things are different now after choosing a writing career. Writing is work and so much more. It’s a passion, a lifeline.
The sacrifices I have made to be a writer have been great. They say that following a passion can change your life and show you the people who are truly there to support you. Whoever they are, they were right.
Writing is intense. It comes with so many of the same stressors as any other job, but it can be lonely. Sure, you can include critique partners and readers and join writing groups, but in the end, your book is in your head. You and only you can get it out. And if you can’t get it out, you feel you failed.
Sometimes, I miss the office life, checking boxes and showing up simply to please. Sometimes, I think it would just be easier to stop writing. Then I remember why I chose it.
My words are my responsibility to produce, but they are mine. I created them. I wove them together in ways that can inspire someone to change their life or follow their dreams or take a chance.
As a creative, I may not have coworkers or friends that I see every day, but I have connections that are deeper than I ever imagined. Supportive writing friends who are there and show up and allow you the space you need to wander in your mind. They go beyond the agenda of the workplace, the humdrum of work-life. They genuinely care about me as a person.
I feel fulfilled. I’m not working towards someone else’s dream any longer. I’m not balancing books so someone can send their children to horseback riding camp. I’m not making panicked phone calls after hours while my supervisor is lying on the beach. Every word that makes it down on a page is one step closer to my dream of being a full-time author, and I have myself to thank for it.
Best of all? I can create from anywhere. I need a good WIFI connection to do some projects, but I am not confined to the four walls of the office. The world is my office.
The grass isn’t always greener. But sometimes, the changes that are the hardest are worth the possibility of a flourishing pasture.
About the Writer: Shell Sherwood is a poet, fiction writer, freelancer, and creator of silly children’s stories, who could live on coffee, pastries, and romantic tragedies. She lives in Hudson Valley, NY with her three boys, and aspires to own a small writing getaway in every climate. Shell is currently working on her debut poetry collection. Learn more about Shell and follow her writing journey via her author blog, Instagram, and TikTok.