If Pursuing a Writing Career is Wrong, I Don’t Want to be Right

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Going from a thirty-year corporate C-suite executive to a full-time writer upset people who barely knew me.

A Big Surprise

When I left corporate America to become a writer, it was a big surprise to some people; they never suspected I was a writer.

Individuals would take time out of their day to tell me how unsettling it would be when I left. Everyone knew some poor starving bastard that quit their job to be an artist and never hit the big time.

They asked how I would live without the big paycheck rolling in every two weeks. A few demanded to know what I would write. One person suggested that I was too old and out of date to connect with any readers younger than myself.

Terrible Answers

When asked what I was planning to write, I replied, “whatever I want.”

When pressed further about a book versus articles, I would state “all of that and anything else that I want to write.” The answer did not change no matter the question. They asked about:

· Fiction vs. nonfiction

· Paid vs. unpaid

· Poems vs. essays

· Print vs. e-books

When I spoke to friends about my plans, a few of them said it wasn’t right for me to leave. I was a good business leader. I concur that I was better than the average bear, but if a milk truck hit me, another person would take over my job the next week. One monkey don’t stop no show in a one-billion-dollar company.

If pursuing a writing career is wrong, then I don’t want to be right. If being right meant working a full-time job, I would rather be wrong than right. *

Do the Right Thing

What the non-artists do not understand is that I need to put words on paper. I can’t explain the directive in my head to capture words and write them down.

Am I wrong to seek a different path in life? I have done my duty to my spouse, company and family, always doing “the right thing” to keep everything organized.

Let nothing stop you. Your first commitment is to yourself. It’s time to do “the wrong thing” and put writing first. Damn the torpedoes, full steam ahead.

(Luther Ingram — If Loving You Is Wrong, song lyric, released in April 1972. Written by Stax Records songwriters Homer Banks, Carl Hampton, and Raymond Jackson)

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