20something profile: Michael
When I graduated high school, I was unsure of what I wanted to study. I liked foreign languages and linguistics. I liked reading too. But above all, I liked writing fiction, and I knew I wouldn’t be happy doing anything else.
So, I took French and Italian, two languages I already had some experience in. I took German, something that had fascinated me for years. I also took courses in political science and Persian and astronomy. My philosophy for university was simple: study things that interest me, and the rest will sort itself out.
But throughout the course of five years, I switched my major three times, unable to settle on something I could see myself doing for the rest of my life. In fact, the only thing I ever wanted to do was write, and I did just that. I wrote three complete novels during that period of my life.
I had worked many jobs too, sometimes four at a time to get myself through school. It was then that I made some important realizations. The 9-to-5 never appealed to me, and neither did a day job I knew I wouldn’t be 100% happy doing. So I made a decision: writing was what I wanted to do with my life. I would work tirelessly to achieve my goal of being an author and escaping the real world grind.
In fact, the economy inspired me to pursue my dream. Ironic, right? An economy as depressing and gloomy as this one actually impacted me in a positive way. I knew that even if I aspired to get a “real” job, the one society said I needed in order to be happy, my prospects were grim. There would be long hours, crappy pay, and perhaps an unsatisfying lifestyle filled with stuff I couldn’t afford and probably didn’t need.
The message to me was clear. If the real world ideal was shaping up to be unattainable and I wasn’t even sure I wanted to be part of it, I’d have to make my own path. Maybe I didn’t need a 9-to-5. Maybe I didn’t need to work a day job. Maybe I didn’t need lots of money and fancy cars and a house full of rooms I would hardly use. I liberated myself of the societal pressure to acquire more wealth and more stuff, and allowed myself to focus on being a writer.
I graduated university in April 2014. Instead of joining the countless other grads in the tireless and often fruitless quest for employment, I boarded a plane and went backpacking through South Africa and Europe for forty days. During that time, much of my work paid off. After years of writing and submitting my novels to agents and editors, I found out that I was going to be published.
At present, yes, I do work a day job. I’m very fortunate considering many of my peers are unemployed and the people I work with are fantastic, but that isn’t enough to keep me. The Black Oracle is a post-apocalyptic fantasy novel, and it will be published on Curiosity Quills Press in 2015.
I’ve been working very close with the publishing company to polish my work and create a promotional campaign. Though release details haven’t been officially decided just yet, they will be announced on my website. To me, this is not only a proud accomplishment, but it is the beginning of a new life.
It’s the beginning of forging my own path and living an existence that satisfies me.