It’s an interesting point being made here about how there’s a definite anxiety that sets in when things are left undone. Particularly what the author is talking about is the anxiety of “unrealized potential,” the feeling that you’re not doing everything you should be doing. He offers there some general advice on how to take that unrealized potential and make things happen, but he frames the issue as one that’s dependent on you having the courage to just go for it, already.
That’s true in some cases, sure. But for others the gap separating “unrealized potential” from “realized action” isn’t desire or intent. It’s not that we’re unaware of what it would take for us to feel fulfilled and free of this anxiety or that we’re held back by voices telling us we’re not capable in some way.
It’s just that we don’t have enough damn time.
Along similar lines, there’s something to be said for the idea that having a day job can actually be good for a writer. It can offer a break from staring into the gaping maw that is the blank page that follows us like ghoul sometimes. Of course that assumes you can *get* a day job, something that shouldn’t be presumed given the troubles facing the labor market as layoffs keep hitting every industry. While there may technically be one job for every unemployed person in the U.S., those jobs and the skills of the searchers don’t always match up.
It also assumes that “fretting about writing” isn’t what you would prefer your day job to be. If it is, that other job isn’t going to do anything but create the kind of anxiety identified in the first post. You’re not going to feel like you’re getting a much-needed bit of relief, you’re going to feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day for you to do everything but you’re so tired when you get home you write 50 words and then spend an hour watching “Kids in the Hall” clips on YouTube.
There’s a real struggle that happens when writing *isn’t* your full-time job but you want it to be. The anxiety and feelings of regret are palpable and overwhelming at times. If you can find a balance or some way to cope with that, you’re doing better than a lot of other people out there.
Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.