My Friend Alexa: Rant post 3 – Writing is a profession too

In the last couple of years, I have earned the displeasure of a bunch of relatives for not staying in touch. Some have even labelled me a snob for not picking up calls to catch up on life. Eight years of corporate life, filled with multiple con-calls throughout the day, customer queries, and work-related conversations had the phone glued to my ears. When my son was born in 2015, I made a conscious decision to stay disconnected.

Within a couple of years, I had successfully managed to rub them on the wrong side with my assumed ‘snobbish’ attitude. Instead of getting worked up about the unfairness of the deal, I took it in my stride and decided to stop giving explanations. If people didn’t understand the difficulties of raising a new-born with the husband on an outstation medical duty, they didn’t deserve my time.

In 2017, when I began writing and eventually decided to make it a full-time profession, there were quite a handful of ‘well-wishers’ who wanted me to go back to a real job. According to them, penning down thoughts was a hobby that I could pursue while continuing with a corporate job. They gave examples of their ‘super mother’ friends and acquaintances who had managed motherhood, high-profile’ jobs, and hobbies with elan.

Initially, I took a lot of pain to enlighten my near ones that I wasn’t pursuing a hobby; I was turning a passion into profession. Did they understand? Hell, NO! Some thought it was a stupid idea, some spoke about how my son was soon going to grow independent and make me regret my choice, and some didn’t even think twice before labelling me an escapist. Thus began my first step into a new profession.

Last year, I decided to get a professional degree to add value to my career. The snide remarks related to going back to academics in my late-thirties only made my resolve stronger. I kept a screenshot of the payment I made for the course. It came handy to combat those who thought my husband was paying for my third post-graduation. While writing isn’t a great paymaster, it isn’t impossible to earn the amount needed to fund my studies. Unfortunately, many in my immediate circle still have trouble understanding it.

Even today, I don’t pick up calls unless they are from my immediate family, very close friends, my son’s school or an unavoidable urgency. I prefer to revert over messages as per my convenient time, ensuring that I respond to each one. Writing isn’t a job that can have anyone working with my mind switched off. My mind is active even as I go about my daily chores. So, when I sit down to write, I shut out the world and plunge into creating a magical world. Like Stephen King advises in his book ‘On Writing’, “Write with the door closed.”

Creative endeavours require as much hard work and support as any other profession; the return on investment is much slower and lesser. But that didn’t deter me from diving into this new world after taking a 180-degree turn from my previous profession. And I am not the only one fighting a battle for creating a new identity as an author. The least that a ‘well-wisher’ can do is acknowledge that writing is a real job.

“I am taking my blog to the next level with Blogchatter’s My Friend Alexa 2020″ campaign.  Stay tuned to read my fourth rant post in this series.

Author: Sonia Chatterjee

Who am I? An erstwhile banker turned blogger/writer/author. Any qualifications? A Post-Graduate degree in Chemistry followed by a second Post-Graduate Diploma in Management. Currently, I am pursuing a one-year MFA in creative writing course from the Writer's Village University, U.S. Though I must admit that I am still trying to figure out how and when I can connect all these dots. Have I done any real work? If two years in market research, six years in banking as a branch head two-and-a-half years in blogging and publishing a book can be considered as real work, then yes. Where do I live? After spending life like a nomad for sixteen years in Delhi, Bangalore & Mysore, I am back to where it all started from - Kolkata. My favorite things - Books, coffee, travel, food, and my four-and-a-half-year-old son. What is this blog about? Through Sonia's musings, I intend to explore writing in various genres, create social awareness, spread laughter and channelize emotions through words and pictures. Anything for readers? You can check out my book 'Deal of Death' on Amazon Kindle. If you like fast-paced thrillers, this Detective fiction introducing the woman sleuth, Raya Ray could turn out to be your perfect weekend read.

36 thoughts on “My Friend Alexa: Rant post 3 – Writing is a profession too”

  1. I can relate to this… Let me warn that my comment may go long… I may rant.. I may not.. But will pour down my thoughts on this :)!

    Writing probably is our happy place… No not probably.. But it is. Corporate job was an ambition, in which we had that urge to prove ourself… When I say prove.. It’s possible we wanted to prove our calibre to ourselves as much as we had those ‘others’ in our minds!

    With time when motherhood struck… Havoc struck… Not in the motherhood space.. But in the priorities space. A lot of us started wondering if we are doing as much justice to all that we are juggling with or are we wading through it all. Motherhood, family, job… Yes, three balls… And even if we juggle it successfully.. Are we ending up as a clown! So, that’s when a lot of us introspected… And when our mind started telling us that you have already proved Urself in terms of ambition…to ur own self… Now prove in the other spheres of life where u are lacking. Because in a corporate job you could only be at the receiving end if anything goes wrong. But as a mother someone else will be at the receiving end if you go wrong… And that someone is who you yourself brought into this world. Now, of course although your mind told you this…. But mind is mind… It has this strange relentless habit of going on questioning your self worth. And usually it’s monetary!

    We blame it on societal conditioning… We blame it on ‘wellwishers’ but end of the day we need to admit… If not anything else… Our mind is also conditioned in this aspect. If it were not so… If we were completely satisfied and found worth in whatever we were pursuing… Be it following ur heart… Why only writing… It can be anything… Cooking, art, travelling, music anything! We wouldn’t have that incessant urge to tell everyone that it’s a profession… It’s worthy enough to pursue… It does yield some value monetarily or otherwise!

    We would go way above what others think and perceive or their jibes or anything if our mind and heart were in sync. And we would be at peace that we are finding happiness and value in whatever we are doing… Doesn’t matter what the world thinks and says or calls… Hobby.. Profession… Escapist… Achiever… Nothing matters! That is the day we can proudly tell ourselves… Yes, I proved myself 🙂

    I am posting the comment without giving it a read. Because if I read… I may not post… And that’s because, I haven’t reached that state either… Still wading through you can say 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Accha, you write..okay ! People don’t understand that creating content online takes time. Yes, we are afraid of our decisions sometimes. Good you chose what you wanted .
    Let the society n people think whatever they want to #lifemarblesRead

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  3. Yes, people don’t take writing seriously. And it’s very strange when people say odd things about your work, lifestyle or motherhood struggles. How does it matter what others are doing or not doing in their personal life? It’s good to be straightforward at times. My sister is like that but I’m not (I’m learning though), however I am a very private person (almost a recluse) and have very-very limited contacts on my phone, so I seldom call anyone (messages are much better) and get very limited calls or comments. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You are a fantastic writer. I can understand your struggle with the constant judgement. People always have some unsolicited advice to give. It’s one thing about our culture I just don’t like. All the best for your new career.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I must say Sonia, it is your strong will and resolute that kept you going. You are an inspiration for many. And you have rightly pointed out that writing is a profession!
    Best wishes to you always, and continue motivating many more through your amazing writing.

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  6. Fully relatable, why on Earth we need to prove to people that writing is our passion. But again the truth is ‘kuch toh log kahenge, logo ka kaam hai kehna’, kuch kare tab bhi kahenge kuch na kare tab bhi kahenge, its always good to go with your instincts as there only lies your own happiness and that is not a choice. Glad you chose your happiness and solace. I really am proud of you to have sailed this journey and came out strong. God knows when writing be taken seriously.

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  7. I enrolled in a course at the age of 39. We have to do what we want to and not bother about others. We don’t have to prove anything to anyone. Just do your thing. Writing always helps. I am so happy that you chose to take up writing professionally because you are talented. And this talent not only helps you grow but even your readers. So keep going, Sonia. My best wishes to you.

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  8. I really like the honesty with which you have written the post and I completely agree with you… People don’t think writing is a serious business. All the best, keep doing what you are doing ..we are not here to prove anyone.

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  9. I am sure you will be surprised to see my name pop up here. Chalo, smile a little pehle. Now, moving on the rant I mean post. The tricky part in the beginning is for us to convince our brain that it is a full time thing. I wonder about the lives of writers of yesteryears…although through difficult times at least writing was taken seriously…like a thinker and got respect. These days people have this tendency to think that if someone is not willing to pursue a corporate job then only they are choosing something like writing. I don’t even want to categorise it into a profession or job or anything just for the mere pleasure of others. I want to be busy I want to work and for me writing feels like it with both my mind and heart in the right place. I am glad you wrote this. And above no body deserves your time more than you and your loved ones. The ones who are going to crib will definitely find one or the other thing…worth cribbing even if you do what they want to. Ignore them. Keep the good work going.

    #MyFriendAlexa #ContemplationOfaJoker #Jokerophilia

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  10. Glad you wrote this, Sonia. Everyone has an opinion of what they don’t know. You have spoken for all of us, with this post. Kudos! May the muse always be kind, and may you and your words shine!

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  11. You said it. Ever since I left my corporate job, I have been looked down upon for doing nothing. Everything that I do simply goes unnoticed, society doesn’t consider them as work at all. They can’t see the effort that goes behind. They just got a point to crib and they happily do that. Can’t help. You keep doing the awesome work that you do, keep shining.

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  12. Kuch to og kahenge..logon ka kam hai kehna…Dont waste your time and energy on such people. I am 56 and I cook and post.I am a content writer..I have written for The Hindu TOI and so on but people around me talk..Pagal hai banati hai post karti hai..akeli hai na..kya kare! I dont care a damn what anyone thinks. Writing helps me retain my sanity and I pore my heart out. When I was working in an office they said she works with so many men..look at her..she is a widow..so shameless she is..so just don’t give a damn!! You rock as a writer Sonia, and we are all there appreciating each other. isn’t it enough??

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  13. I can so relate to you! I am a post-graduate in English Literature, have been blogging since I was 18 years to be precise since 2013, been on and off blogging. My short stories are published in 3 different anthology books, published my own poem collection last year on amazon kindle, this month 2 poems got published in an anthology book and is now live on amazon. Have been into art (canvas painting since past 2 years now, watercolor painting, brush lettering came to me just a month ago), and now have been trying to monetize both my blog and art. But people think it’s an hobby, it’s something i just do to pass my time. I am passionate about things, i love doing all these and I am only good at these so why can’t i turn it into profession. I also do digital illustration art and like you said creative field is a slow and pays less. But it’s not impossible. I still feel I havn’t achieved much and still have got to learn a lot but people don’t understand the value of turning passion into profession it makes them think it’s a joke. The amount of hard work goes into researching and writing is not a joke!

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  14. So true…sadly in India, people tend to take reading and writing as a waste of time. It is disheartening to hear the kind of snide comments that come for spending time on research or creative writing which isn’t a “paid job”. I am really happy that you thought of giving an outlet to this feeling, loved reading this post.

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  15. This is coming straight from the heart and it takes a lot of courage to speak the innermost feelings. Sonia, I must say kudos to your strong resolve to create your own space, your own identity, and most of all a world where you can pursue what you love. It again takes guts to say the smallest word NO at the right time but when you say it, you save a lot of energy & time. You are a wonderful person who has the ability to take even tough decisions. Please cheer up, for you are creating your unique trajectory. All the best and keep going!!

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  16. I’m sorry it is this way. But I so understand and can relate to it. I used to get so many snide comments for writing too because as a doctor, I should have kept quiet and stuck to my operation theater.

    Keep proving them wrong. That’s what I say.

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  17. I can relate to this. I began freelancing in the late 90s when the concept didn’t really exist and it was considered more of an excuse for being between jobs. Faced a fair share of jibes. Keep shining Sonia. Haters gonna hate. Potatoes gonna potate.

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  18. Dear Sonia
    So proud of knowing you…The person and the writer both. You are doing a splendid job. I’m a little wary of earning through my writing..I remain sceptical of that. So I haven’t been able to give up my job. But someday I do hope secretly that I will be able to do so. Yes, writing is a profession and you’ve aptly put it here.

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  19. I can completely relate to this post. People judge writers thinking they are just pursuing a hobby. I am a dietician but as I am a freelancer, I love writing and blogging but people still think I am just doing it as hobbies.

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  20. Writers can value the writing and readers too. I can understand how society or near ones ask ‘what you get from writing ‘ and for me it’s simple peace. We cannot make them see the writing world unless they enter it.

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  21. I think that the fact is, as much as people are free to opine about what happens in our lives, more often than not, they are wrong. And well, as Joey once famously said, “It’s a moo point!”
    You do you! Onwards and upwards!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Loved the honesty of this post. People don’t understand how writing can really help in releasing pent up emotions. I really don’t bother about what others think. I do and write what suits me.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Keep going Sonia, you are a great writer. There will always be people who don’t understand what we do, they will judge things that they don’t get. But there will always be community love and like minded writers and content creators who can connect, and that’s the best part

    Like

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