Whenever I have a day job, I like to pretend that I am some sort of super hero. Every super hero has a day job (except for the ones that don’t). I makes me feel like that’s the reason I do it, to keep appearances, because crime fighting doesn’t pay the bills, right? I could even have a super cool name to go with it, but since I kept my own name, I’m just me.
The reason I hate having a day job is simple: they pay me.
“What? Why?” Well, it’s operant conditioning. It’s positive reinforcement.
I get up in the morning. I put on pants among other things. I show up. Sometimes I work. And after the week is over, they pay me. I can buy things like food. It’s a transaction for goods and/or services. And it makes me lazy. It sets off little parts of my brain that says, “Oh, this is what we should be doing. Yay! Let’s do more of this.”
That’s one thing about crime fighting– I mean, writing. There isn’t that instant gratification that my day job technically provides me. Unless you’re really good at what you do or just lucky, writing isn’t going to be your day job. And being constantly reinforced to be at my job at 8 a.m. every morning makes not getting that kind of gratification from writing that much harder. It makes my brain go, “Oh, well, we don’t have to do that writing NOW. Our survival doesn’t depend on that, so it can wait. You know what would be great right now? Sleep. Sleep would be great. Let’s do that.”
Things start getting neglected like this blog. While I had my day job, I hadn’t written in my blog since March. That’s sinful. And the last REAL blog entry that wasn’t just a rehashed version of a previous entry was in January before that.
In order to keep ourselves writing, we must either defeat brain chemistry or we must have a different sort of reward for writing. For me, it’s that writing helps keep me sane (or as sane as I get). Writing is life. Writing is relief. At some point, I’d love to be one of those people who can survive off of my writing, and in order to do that, I must fight the good fight with my brain. “No, brain, we’re going to write blog entries and do some promotion now. We can sleep when we’re dead.”