There’s a misconception floating around that a writer going to a development bootcamp will inevitably want to gain the title of “Software Engineer”. That is not the case with me. Recently, I was speaking with someone who told me (like many others have) that I would make more money as an engineer. All I had to do was keep learning and practicing. In this, I had to question whether they think that writing is beneath development. Or whether development is more worthwhile of a pursuit than writing.
Here’s the thing. I have always wanted to be a writer – even before I knew I wanted to be one. Language fascinates me and I think about it every single day – letters, symbols, sayings, miscommunications, non-verbal movements. I vividly remember writing songs in both French and English alone in my room when I was 8 years old. When I was 10, I kept a detailed botanical journal. Fast-forward to 16, I started skipping school and going to the public library. There, I checked out bulky volumes of all of the Classical authors I could get my hands on, especially female authors. I read every Jane Austen novel, even the one she half-finished, Sanditon. The Bronte sisters, Don Quixote, H.G. Wells, anything that strangers online told me was a Classic.
As soon as I could leave my house at 18, I enrolled myself in community college with the help of a government loan, a grant, and a scholarship. I spent my community college years buying and selling books online to make ends meet (along with working 2-3 jobs at a time). I took classes in linguistics, literature, anthropology, art, and studied four hours a day. Then I transferred to a four-year university, where I changed my major from Anthropology to English.
During this time, I became very interested in Victorian Era literature and even wrote a thesis on mental illness in the Victorian Era. I also studied philosophy and came to love Foucault, especially his works on mental illness and the prison system. When I got out of college, I wrote two books and they’re safely hidden from the world on my Google Drive.
Contrary to what people may think, writing is much more than just getting words out onto a page. I mean, it is just getting words on a page, but it requires an absolutely enveloping amount of self-discipline, love of language, and yearning to articulate. There is no end goal for a writer. I am not seeking to get out of writing. It is what I do and it is what I’ve always wanted to do. And I’m so thankful that I can do it as a job. It helps me refine my skills and learn more of my craft daily. My career as a writer means that I can never avoid what I know I will always come back to – writing, communicating, telling stories, helping people understand concepts better, connecting.
And here’s something else – the people who tell me I could make more money as a developer don’t know the work I put in to this day to hone my skills and to be a writer. I read books on writing. I write in a journal. I periodically do courses of The Artist’s Way. I work on my self-discipline (running is a great way to do this). It’s my way of life. It wouldn’t matter if I could double my salary as a developer. I don’t write because it’s lucrative (but it definitely can be). I write because it’s how I untangle my brain, how I sit in the calm with myself, how I record and find myself walking through life.
I’m not in it to become a developer. I’m in it to develop as a writer.