I woke up this morning with this thought: I would do more creative writing if I treated it as I would an occupation. This strikes me as different from thinking about creative writing as a job. A job, in the way I grew up thinking about jobs, was something you had to do, for somebody else, to make money, whether you liked it or not. Maybe even especially if you liked it or not. My dictionary (and, yes, I still own one) has as a first definition “a specific piece of work, as in one’s trade, or done by agreement for pay.” At position number 2 in Webster’s: “anything one has to do; task; chore; duty.”
There’s an element of “have to” do something that is not “have to do something because if I don’t a piece of me will die on the vine.” Which is how I think of creative writing.
Now as for occupation, Webster’s first definition doesn’t apply at all: “an occupying or being occupied; specific., the seizure and control of a country or area by military forces.” Oh, my. Unless you think of “an occupying” as “the thought of writing occupies me rather than me it” — in other words, it must be done.
Secondly, though, occupation means “that which chiefly engages one’s time.” This is what I’ve been looking for. Creative writing as that which chiefly engages my time. Not a sideline; not the thing that gets done only if I have time; not the thing that, even when I have the time, which I do most of the time, gets left undone because I don’t treat it as the chief thing. Now, why is that?
Avocation used to mean one’s regular work, or vocation, though it is rarely used that way now. Instead we use it as something one does in addition to a vocation or regular work, and usually for pleasure; a hobby.
I like combining these two definitions: having one’s regular work being done for pleasure.
In my case this would be creative writing being done regularly and with pleasure.
And the component that has been missing for me has been commitment: Webster’s #4: dedication to a long-term course of action; engagement; involvement. Dedication being the operative word here, and maybe long-term.
This is what I have been aMusing on today.
What do you do chiefly: a job, an occupation, or an avocation? And if what we’re doing isn’t chiefly something we’re dedicated to and do for pleasure, why not?
Oh, right: excuse me while I go pay the gas bill.
Which is a cynical and not very amusing note to end on.
Which brings me to the definition of abundance … for another day.