Saturday, June 11, 2005

It's been two years since I officially became a writer, and one year since I quit engineering to write full-time. And I was just thinking about my transitions. What are the differences between an engineering career and a writing career?

Well, the obvious is money. The biggest difference is money. I take that back. The biggest difference is happiness and fulfillment. As they say, find what is is that you truly love to do and try to make a career out of it. I'm trying my best. And yes, as I writer, I figured that I probably make less than a third of what I made as an engineer. Whew! Good thing I'm not materialistic! LOL The other sayings are true: Money isn't everything; money can't buy you happiness. I make less, but I have less stress, I'm happier, and I'm more fulfilled. I wouldn't trade my current position for anything in the world. I feel like it's what I was meant to do.

But I started thinking about my friends, family members, and strangers reactions to what I do now. The differences. It can be quite repetitious and funny. For example:

Family members: You're quitting engineering to write books (how will she eat?)?
Friends: You're quitting engineering to write books (how will she eat? Lawd! She's going to be homeless!)? Holding hands & bowed heads: Our father, which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name...
Strangers: You're a full-time writer? Yeah, but what do you do for a living? What's your real job?

Family member: Your book is published and in book stores?! Wow! Can I get a loan? Cousin Lee-Lee's got this itch and she may die.
Friends: Your book is published and in stores? Wow! Let's go out. Your treat, you big baller you!
Strangers: Your book is published and in stores? So how does it feel to go to your book signings in a limo and fly first class?

Family member: You know, I've always wanted to write a book. Tell me how.
Friends: You know,a-heh, heh, I do a little writing on the side. Will you organize it for me, and um...publish it?
Strangers: I write too! Can I have your email or phone number can you can teach me step by step how to get it published? Will you publish it for me?

Family, Friends, Strangers: Tell me about your next book!
Family, Friends: What are you doing today? Watching TV? (Um...writing)

Family, Friends, Strangers: What's the next book about?
Family, Friends: What are you doing today? (Writing)
Friends: Let's go.... (can't. I need to finish this 300 page novel)

Family, Friends, Strangers: What's the next book about?
Family, Friends: You finished that 300 page novel yet? (????)
Family, Friends: What are you doing today? (Writing)
Friends: Let's go.... (can't. I need to finish this next book.)
Any of them: I need you to help me write and/or publish...

Family, Friends, Strangers: What's the next book about?
Family, Friends: You finished your next book yet?
Family, Friends: What are you doing today? (Writing)
Friends: Let's go.... (can't. I need to finish this next book)
A few of them: Will you help me write and/or publish....

Family, Friends, Strangers: What's the next book about?
Family, Friends: You finished your next book yet?
Family, Friends: What are you doing today? (Writing)
Friends: You still writing that same book? What do you DO all day? YOU'RE LAZY!!!

I'm just having fun with my family and friends, but it seems like this. No harm intended! I love all y'all, but are you listening when I tell you about the next book? LOL What's with the short term memory. (It's so funny because every time, they are so engaged in what I'm saying like it's the first time they've heard it.) And I'm a writer. Um...that means I write. LOL No, I'm not laying on the couch all day watching soaps and eating Bon Bons. Well, I do like those Dove chocolate ice cream bars with almonds. And I do watch The Young and the Restless. What's up with Lily? About to go on the run with Daniel? What is she thinking? Oh, I digress. But I write. And as much as I would like to, I find it very difficult to complete a 300 page novel in a week. LOL

No, really. I enjoy the questions. I just find them funny when you get the same ones over and over from the same people. As Alton would say, "It's all good!" (Now, if you don't get that, you need to buy my book and read it in September!) LOL


CydneyR Sun Jun 12, 05:09:00 AM EDT  

Great post. I've heard this before from a few other full-time writers. People wonder what does that mean, what do you actually do (hilarious). One time I ran across an author that had been picked by Oprah. And she said prior to that her friends would call her at home. Ask what she was doing. She'd say "I'm writing." They'd say "Oh, you are. Anyway blah blah blah." And they'd proceed to tell her whatever they were calling about. But after she'd been featured on Oprah, if they called her and she said she was writing, they'd say, "Ooooh, okay, I'll let you go." Isn't that a trip? People's perceptions are something else. (Whispering to Cherlyn - maybe you should somehow get on Oprah). LOL.

Cherlyn Michaels Sun Jun 12, 09:13:00 AM EDT  

Haaaa! Yeah, I get that a lot too. People calling and asking what I'm doing. When I tell them I'm writing (which to me is the equivalent of, "I'm working.") they would say, Oh, and just keep on going with general chit-chat, like what I'm doing is not that important. LOL
But then again, if I answer the phone, it probably isn't or I needed a break or something. Because now, when I'm writing and I'm into it, I don't answer the phone anymore. I've learned. :-)

Cherlyn Michaels Sun Jun 12, 09:19:00 AM EDT  

Oh and Cydney, that's another thing I should have included. If I have one more person telling me I just need to send my book to Oprah, I'm going to scream! LOL It's like, okay now THERE'S an innovative idea. I'll bet no one else has thought of that! LOL
Oh, but the best was advice that this guy told me. That I needed to call up P. Diddy and tell him about my book so we could "do something" with it. That I should just call up Bad Boy Entertainment and get P. Diddy on the line. Then, he scaled down a bit. He said I needed to talk to Eric Jerome Dickey and tell him about my book and propose that we make it into a play. That I should show him how this would be beneficial for both of us.

No, even though he was looking at all the EJD hardcovers on my bookshelf, I don't think he realized that this writer is already successful and that what he was suggesting was like the singer Bobby Valentino calling Prince and saying, "Let's do a collaboration. I think it could be beneficial for the BOTH of us." LOL

Jill Mon Jun 13, 02:24:00 PM EDT  

Got a kick out of this post. I swear to you, if I had a dime for every time even my MOM asked me when I was going to write a real book, I'd be FILTHY STINKIN' RICH. Ah, friends and family. Gotta love 'em.

And thanks for visiting my blog!!

Cherlyn Michaels Mon Jun 13, 09:57:00 PM EDT  

I enjoy reading your blog. Thanks for stopping by my blog as well.
And friends and family, can't live with 'em....(you know the rest!) :-)

Shelia Tue Jun 14, 10:03:00 PM EDT  

Cherlyn, this was funny, but true...In the past, some of my friends would call me and ask me to run errand #1, #2, etc, until I had to straight up break it down to them that when I'm writing, I'm working...when that didn't work, I let voice mail pick up.

Cherlyn Michaels Fri Jun 17, 09:27:00 PM EDT  

Shelia, yeah, I'm on the voice mail tip too.

MsJayy Sat Jun 18, 08:33:00 PM EDT  

This is TOO funny. Even I know it's true and I'm not even published yet. LOL As I head toward publication, people keep telling me things like, "Oh send your book to Oprah. Send it to Maya Angelou - she writes poetry too." No kidding?! Or the person who suggests I publish my first book with a leather cover and hold my book release party at this very swanky place where you practically have to pay them to talk to you about renting space. Lawd ham mercy! I better rest up for when I become a "real" writer! Keep doing you Boo! ( the way...where IS that "NEXT" book? LOL)