I just got back from a lovely week-long vacation in Puerto Rico. For the first time in my life on vacation, I really missed my job. My job of writing. That doesn’t pay me a thing.
I approach writing full-time as a 9 to 5 job, Monday through Friday. Just like any other job I’ve had, I don’t work on weekends or evenings and I get to take vacation. But boy did my fingers miss the keyboard when I was out of town. They were itching for my laptop as terribly as the bug bites were burning up my legs.
And here’s another little struggle I had. My husband is pursuing photography as a serious hobby. We approached this trip as our first foray into freelance travel writing and photography. I love to write, he loves to take pictures, and we both love to travel. Why not combine the three?
So, every day, Mike was armed with his camera and spent his time getting the composition and lighting right for his pictures. Not only was he taking pictures to document our excursions, and possibly get published, he was having tons of fun. I have to say I was terribly jealous.
I didn’t bring my laptop (it was a vacation after all) but I brought my little travel notebook. Yet I didn’t write a thing in it. I felt like I wouldn’t be vacationing if I was writing. Writing is my job now, not just my hobby, and I felt an obligation to keep the two distinct. How would I have felt if Mike whipped out his blackberry and started checking work email? Answer: angry, disappointed, and kind of weirded out.
I was struggling with how much I missed writing and how happy Mike was pursuing his passion of photography on our trip. I hinted at this finally, and he said “I’m telling ya, bring your laptop next time.” As easy as that. As casual as that. But no way, I said, giving him my blackberry example. To which he replied, “But your job doesn’t make you miserable. It makes you happy.“
I have to say I’m not certain if I’ll bring a laptop on our next trip, or ever. It feels like a slippery slope. Plus can you imagine what it would be like to get sand in the keyboard? But the fact that I was itching to get back to work while I was on vacation says to me that I’m surely doing the right thing with my life. Sure, it sucks that this job doesn’t pay me a cent right now, and may not ever. But I’m not in it for the money. I’m in it for the accomplishment, the creativity, the challenge, the fun, the slightly obsessive need to write. And for that feeling that I must have the best job in the world if I can’t wait to get back to work.