Making Yourself Work

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about why we work (other than the obvious – making money) and how you can figure out what you would be happiest doing.  Assuming you have to work because you aren’t independently wealthy, what should you do?  What would make you happiest?  What job would make you want to get out of bed and get to work as soon as possible? So far, theories run from whatever will make you the most money (like the philosophy in Die Broke) to doing the work you love the most. So if you like playing softball, getting as close to softball as you can – maybe coaching it.

Curious, I started thinking about careers and why people do them.  Take a career that’s not usually imposed on someone, say writing.  Writers, especially fiction book writers, usually write because they want to.  Nobody forces them to write, nobody asks them to write and nobody hires them to write.  And they only get paid if they are successful. So why do they do it? Do they love the result or the process?  I’d argue that they love the result because the common urban legend is the writer’s suffer a lot of writer’s block.  This article, 50 Strategies for Making Yourself Work, also implies that writer’s force themselves to write.  So if people choose a profession that is hard, yet you have to assume they are satisfied, because at any point they could give up writing and go work at the local bookstore for probably more money, why do they do it?

  • Is it the hopes of reward?  Do they write because they think they are going to win the lottery, i.e. write a bestseller?  Writing a bestseller is a lot more work than buying a lottery ticket!
  • If we assume it’s to sell a bestseller, is it the money?
  • Or the fame?
  • Or is it something completely different like the satisfaction of seeing a book in print? This might explain the sucess of the self publishing business.
  • Or do they have a burning idea they have to share?
  • Or have they run out of books in their favorite genre and they want to contribute more?
  • Or do they think they can write a better book than anybody else?
  • Or do they have a burning point to make?  (Different concept than the burning idea to share!)

Whatever it is, I think understanding why writers write might give me more insight into how to find the career that is most fulfilling.