Friday Writing Question: If I couldn’t be a writer, I’d…

Happy Friday, SEers! You’re with Mae today and I’m breaking out a writing question to get some conversation going. This one isn’t about technique or promotion, but rethinking the writing life. We all know it’s a tough gig, not for the faint of heart. We’re in this because we love what we do, regardless of the hurdles. Most of us have dreamed about writing professionally for a long time. For me, those dreams started in childhood.

Little girl in red cape plays superhero, standing on rooftop and looking down on city in distance beneath sunset sjy

Along the path there were other things that attracted me too. At one point I thought I wanted to be a marine biologist, another time it was a paramedic. If you know me, you’d know both of those professions would make horrible choices. I flirted with other interests, but writing was always my driving ambition. For a regular paycheck job, I’ve been in real estate and marketing my entire professional career, but every now and then I think of the alternate paths I might have taken.

So here’s my question:
If you couldn’t be a writer, paycheck job aside, what would chose to do?

For me, I’d love to be involved in something that involves research—especially of a historical nature, or in relation to Earth sciences, particularly meteorology.

What would your choice be? Spill your guts, er…share in the comments below. Mulling it over might just spawn a plot bunny or two!

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47 thoughts on “Friday Writing Question: If I couldn’t be a writer, I’d…

  1. What a great question, Mae! I managed to find my career as a technical writer after trying aviation and a long stint in IT that included CAD and programming. If I didn’t write, hmmm. I always wanted to be a marine biologist and work with dolphins, too. Or maybe a forest ranger. Zoologist? Geologist? Hmmm….

    Liked by 1 person

    • I sense someone else who enjoys sciences 🙂
      It’s great that you’re able to apply writing in your career, Julie. I’ve been fortunate to be able to do that in mine as well. Writing in any form rocks 🙂

      And aviation sounds very cool. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Writing Links…4/23/18 – Where Genres Collide

  3. I am a chartered accountant first and foremost as that is my day job. My work involves a lot of drafting and writing so I think I made the right choice of career. I like writing and would love to have more time to spend on it but this will need to wait a bit longer.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s always good when you can incorporate writing into your chosen profession. I’ve been fortunate to have been able to do that throughout my career. It sounds like you have the same luxury/benefit, Robbie. Always a plus. And yes, I know what you mean about having to put more writing time on the back burner. Hopefully, one of these days for all of us . . . 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. When I was younger, I wanted to travel as much as possible. I think pictures can capture so much, so if I couldn’t write, being a photographer appeals to me. Pictures of landscapes and people can create a mood, send a message.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Another creative enterprise, Judi. I find it interesting that many writers are also interested in other art-related fields. I used to dabble with photography many moons ago. I wan’t very good at it but always wished I was. I think photography is an excellent choice!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Since I turned to writing after retirement this is a tough one for me since I pretty much waited my whole life to start writing. I remember when I was 36 years old. I got a piece of paper and wrote down ten things I wanted to do. (This was pre-bucket list days) My rules were simple. To get on the list the goal had to be impossible given the circumstances that existed then. I tucked the list in my wallet. Thirty-four years later, I had accomplished each of the items except for one. The one? Publish a novel. So I have been a pirate, a poet, a pawn and a king and there is no going back.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I had a lot of interests growing up. I wanted to do EVERYTHING. It was really hard to specialize in college. Writing was actually my third major, but it should have been my first. I can’t imagine not writing.

    Other things I considered, though? Medicine, law, architecture, interior design, landscaping, archaeology, astronomy, geology.
    Some of the careers that my characters have had so far? Medicine, law, architecture, interior design, landscaping, archaeology.

    See where I’m going with this?

    Liked by 3 people

  7. You pose a great question, Mae. My immediate thought turned to the world of music that I’ve been a part of for over thirty years. If I didn’t write, I’d love to be a tour manager or publicist for a well-known performer!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Awesome post for reflection, Mae! After 15 years working as a counsellor, I decided to step away from it. I had no clue what my next steps would be. No clue. Writing was my saving grace. A discovery that completely surprised me. Soon after, I discovered my passion for graphic design. I’m not sure if any of this would have transpired if I didn’t step away from the path.
    It’s fascinating really, and I offer thanks every day to be able to do what I love. I often say to my husband that I feel like I’m just beginning. That’s a pretty cool feeling! It’s my hope that everyone will feel this sense of peace at some point in their lives. Even if just for a day.
    Thanks so much for sharing. Happy Friday to all. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • It’s fantastic that you’ve been able to embrace writing and now, graphic design, Natalie. I especially love the way you use the two of them together. There is something utterly freeing and joyful when we’re able to do what brings us the greatest joy. I’m glad you’ve found yours. Cheers, my friend!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Since I didn’t start writing (for publication) until age 69, I’ve already done a whole host of other things, from administrative assistant, to insurance claims work, to teaching acrylic and decorative painting, and owning a craft store. But if I were starting over as something other than a writer, I’d be out in nature all day long. A park ranger, a nature center tour guide, an ECO TOUR guide (there’s a reason that’s Maggie’s job in my Florida-based books), or something of that sort. And I’d embellish it by giving presentations on wildlife at various venues–something I do already as connected to my books, only more of it.

    So, with me, what you see is pretty much what you get, where my other interests are concerned. But I hope I can continue writing for some time to come. I never want to give it up! It’s the most fulfilling thing I’ve ever done, and a childhood dream come true. 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • I can fully see you doing something nature related, Marcia, especially the Eco Tour Guide. I know you’re already involved in that to a degree and give talks on Florida’s wildlife. If I knew enough, that would be something I’d thoroughly enjoy too 🙂
      And it’s never too late to begin writing. I’m glad you’re getting a chance to live your childhood dream!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Well, technically, I’m a writer on the side. My “professional” job is that of a teacher, specifically an intensive reading teacher. So, if I couldn’t be a writer, I’d do what I already do – teach children how to love literature. 🙂 I also sponsor a creative writing club called Writer’s Ink, and my members compete in slam poetry competitions. So, even when I’m not writing, I’m surrounded by the written word, which makes me a very happy camper. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • You’ve got an admirable career, Yvette. Opening the world of literature to children can make all the difference in enriching their lives as they age.
      The creative writer’s club sounds like fun. In your situation, I would be a very happy camper, too. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. If I couldn’t be a writer I’d be dead inside, at least a part of me would.
    You may think this is am exaggeration, but I tried to stay without writing and it made me feel bad to the point of feeling it physically.
    Writing is my superpower, my secret life. I’m a Batwriter at night (or early morning) and a Bruce-Wayne-chemist during the day. If I couldn’t be a writer, probably I’d only be a chemist (and probably a much better one because my head would be fully focused on science, instead of being constantly distracted by thoughts like “oh, this is a capital idea for my story! I need to jot it down).
    Chemistry puts the bread on the table, but is also the second best in my interests. When I had to choose a faculty at university, my options were literature (or anyway something writing-related) and chemistry. I choose the latter because it was easier to get a job after, but also because if I couldn’t be a writer I wanted to be a mad scientist.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ha, ha! I love the “mad scientist” thought. I also bet you really do come up with some great fodder for stories in your line of work.:)
      And I fully understand what you mean by not being able to write. If I go more than a week without writing, I start to suffer withdrawal. No one but another writer can understand that. If I share that thought with a non-writer, they think I’m nuts. But writing is something I’ve been doing since I scribbled out my first childish story at six and something I NEED to be able to do on a regular basis. Glad to know I’m not the only one! Thanks for sharing, Irene!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I’ve done lots of jobs, but nothing as creative as writing. Now there’s nothing wrong withn ordinary jobs, working with children or people… but in a fantasy life It occured to me recently how wonderful to be an architect, an architect with free rein. Putting aside the actual technical skills involved, I would create homes, work places and palaces for the arts, all buildings that worked for people and the environment, but also made people happy just to walk by them – a real dream career!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I like that! You’d still be creating, but in an entirely different way. Dream careers are what it’s all about. And hey, maybe you won’t actually become an architect, but you can live the life of one through writing. That’s one of the perks in being an author—getting to build our own worlds and share the lives of our characters.! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Interesting question, Mae, one that had me thinking. The conclusion of all this brain work first thing in the morning is this: I don’t think I could ever ‘not write’. No matter what else I do, and there does seem to be far too much of that, I will have to write as well…

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Great question, Mae Clair! I haven’t really courted the idea of doing anything else. This crazy passionate affair we all have with the written word continues to astound and confound me. However, if my fate had taken a different pathway, then I too would love to work in the field of Marine Biology … specifically, the area dedicated to Dolphin survival. These amazing creatures have held me in awe since I was a child watching them play in Sydney’s beautiful harbor. The illegal fishing boats that trawl along our coastline have been responsible for the loss of far too many of one of natures greatest gifts. Now THAT I get passionate about. I’m rather afraid I never did learn to do anything in half measure. Thanks so much for asking such an interesting question.😀

    Liked by 3 people

    • Dolphins are beautiful and probably my favorite sea creature. Marine biology fascinated me for a long time but I don’t think I could manage scuba diving which kind of put the kibosh on the idea. I still love the research devoted to marine life and marine mammals. I normally get to see dolphins along the eastern coast of the U.S. when we visit beach locations. They can usually always be counted on to make an appearance. They are indeed beautiful and majestic.

      P.S. love your description for writing as a “crazy passionate affair” with the written word. So well said! Thanks for sharing, Soooz!

      Liked by 1 person

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