What You Can’t Buy
So there was this woman who really wanted to be a full-time writer. She was desperate to leave her boring old job, to stop getting up at 6 am every day and suffering through an endless commute while hating every second she couldn’t spend writing. Her job was at an institution of higher learning, and as such jobs often do, it kept spilling over into evenings and weekends. It was a running joke among her friends how entirely unsuited she was to a life of a regular 8 to 6 worker who has to show up at her job early each morning.
The woman snatched every free moment she had to write, write, write. And finally her books started selling. And then bestselling. And finally she had enough money to quit her boring old job, buy a beautiful big house with a view, and do nothing but write. So that’s what she did.
And. . . for the next three years, she didn’t write a word. All she did was stay in bed and weep. And eat. And weep some more. She gained a ton of weight and drove everybody who knew her to distraction because it’s hard to feel much compassion for a bestselling author with a beautiful big house and no money worries. The worst part was that she couldn’t explain what was torturing her.
“But isn’t this what you always wanted?” her long-suffering husband would ask.
“Yes,” she’d say and start weeping.
Finally, her agent got fed up with not getting paid. He showed up at her house one day, packed her into his car, and drove her to his office. He led her to a tiny windowless closet and said,
“Look, I put a desk and a chair here for you. Each day you’ll arrive here by 7 am, like it’s a job, and stay working for the next 8 hours, like it’s a job. And you’ll keep doing it every day. Like it’s a fucking job!”
So that’s what the woman did. She started writing again, and selling, and even bestselling. The writing is not as good (I’m a fan, I read all she writes) but it’s good enough. Most importantly, she is smiling again. She lost back the weight and started taking dancing lessons.
Self-awareness is a great and rare gift.
P.S. It’s a completely true story that the writer herself has shared in a multitude of interviews.