There is no grey area here. If you hate what you are doing, do something else. Life should be enjoyed not endured. Now, I am not advocating ditching a job or a project just because you’re having a bad day. What I am saying is if you dread facing something, if you feel anxious and think you’re going to throw up if you have to face it/them one more time, you owe it to yourself to get out. I grew up hearing life sucks and then you die. What a very sad philosophy! Sometimes life does suck, and other times it doesn’t. When any one chunk of life sucks, you owe it to yourselves and everyone around you to decide how you can make it not suck, or at very least suck less.
As I have shared before, last year I did the uncommon sense thing and I left my paying job. My decision to leave was not an easy decision and did not come as the result of any one thing. What finally spurred me on to walk in that day and hand in my resignation came after I heard myself complaining to a friend yet again about work. I was sick of hearing myself and I realized in that moment that I had to do something about it. Again, that isn’t to say everyone who has a dream should go for it the moment they discover what they would rather be doing. It took many years to get myself in a mental and physical state to even consider leaving work. But when the time arrived, I knew it was the right time.
Now I’m home writing every day. Some days I’m extremely productive, and others not so much. Some days I think I am the most brilliant writer to ever be sent down to earth, but most days I think I’m a shoddy hack who is, at best, delusional and, at worst, a fraud. But at the end of every day, I’m happy. And the next morning, I arrive at my desk with a sense of wonder not dread.
The reality for writers is that we are, as they say, opening a vein and bleeding over our pages, day after day after day. So you better be able to stand the sight of blood and you better think you look okay with no clothes on, because you’re pretty much running down the street naked.
I have other interests, some of them even other arts, but I’m not willing to get on an emotional rollercoaster to experience them, and none of them make me feel like I’m losing my mind and at the same time make me worry I will implode from sheer joy. My other interests, my hobbies, make me happy, when I’m already happy, but aren’t where I turn when I’m less than happy. Writing is something I regularly and eagerly climb aboard the crazy train to experience. That’s how I know I’m doing the right thing.
Whether you are able, or even interested in, writing full-time, my wish for you would be that you are able to access your creativity with joy. Love what you are doing and do it to the best of your ability.
Life should be enjoyed, not endured.
Here is a video featuring John Irving who speaks to this love it or leave it point.