WRITERS BLOCK versus WRITER BLOCKED
I am sure you have heard about the work continuum: JOB – CAREER – CALLING. To this I like to add a fourth stage – METIER. I believe that a person’s work life is defined by four stages: Job – Career – Calling – Metier.
A job is something you do for which you get paid. I got paid for being an Electrical Engineer (or more precisely an Electronics and Communications Engineer). That was my basic job. Your job provides you the instrumental means of fulfilling your financial needs.
During my career in the Navy I did a number of jobs, afloat and ashore (pertaining to Electrical, Electronics, Radar and Communications Engineering). Your career fulfils your needs for achievement and accomplishment. I was in operations, maintenance, production, industrial engineering, projects, design, quality assurance, engineering management, training, teaching assignments, and later, after I obtained management qualifications, I worked as a Human Resource Leader, a Trainer and a Professor.
I enjoyed most of the varied jobs I did during the course of my career, but the job I enjoyed most was Teaching and Training – yes, I had discovered my “calling” or vocation, so I spent many years as a teacher and an trainer.
A job is something you are paid for doing.
A career is a line of work.
When you find your work intrinsically fulfilling and you are not doing it to achieve something else, you have discovered your calling.
Since my student days I have always loved to read and write. Throughout my career I always seized the opportunity to do “literary” tasks like writing articles, participating in seminars and literary/intellectual events, editing and producing in-house journals etc. Soon I started writing short fiction stories, many of which were published and appreciated. I realized that I was passionate about writing and had discovered my true metier – creative writing.
I, therefore, “retired” to pursue my metier full-time, with total dedication, complete vigour and focused efforts, without the distractions of a “job” or “career”. Now-a-days, I am a wannabe writer, who nobody takes seriously. For the last few months I am writing my first novel – the first draft, the second…
The life of a budding creative writer is a solitary and lonely one. Everyone thinks I am wasting my time and I am making a big mistake turning down lucrative job offers. They don’t realize that I have found my “metier” and do not want to do a “job”. Most people don’t understand me and it is quite frustrating.
Recently my mother had a serious accident, underwent surgeries and had to spend over three weeks in hospital. Me (and my wife) spent the entire three weeks looking after my mother full-time. Others came and went, because they had “jobs” to do whereas I was “unemployed”. Even now, my bedridden mother wants us (my wife and I) to stay with her full-time till she recovers (which may take a few months). When I suggest that my sister can share the duties, my mother retorts: “How can she leave her husband for so long and come here? He has important work and a “job” to do!”
For others, like my cousins who run a business, time is money – so how can they afford to leave their business and come here for even a day!
In my case, it just does not matter. I don’t have a job to do or a career to pursue.
Never mind that my writing schedule has gone haywire and my train of thoughts is disrupted. Everyone thinks creative writing is a trivial pastime, a frivolous hobby, and it just doesn’t matter if I don’t write for a few weeks. No one takes me seriously. Suppose I were doing a “job” then everyone’s attitude towards me would have been different.
Earlier, I had experienced a phenomenon called “Writer’s Block” – now I feel like a “Writer Blocked”.