Once upon a time, I wanted to become a Constitutional scholar. I spent my days and nights in graduate school pouring over the words of the founding fathers, engulfed in trying to understand their motivations and the related consequences we experience today. And I loved it. But like everything I do, I put so much of myself into it that I quickly burnt out. Knowing that it’s so common to drop out of a Ph.D. program, I decided to try something new.
So I packed up my things (including a small mountain of legal theory books, papers, and journals) and moved to DC. I was (and am) grateful for the opportunity to work for Congressman Henry Waxman, who since reading about him in college I consider one of the greatest legislators ever. But after two years where I learned more than I possibly could have expected, I knew Capitol Hill wasn’t for me, so I moved on to New York.
As I go off yet again to try something new, I realize that despite my relatively small New York apartment, I still have all of those constitutional law and legal theory books, as well as boxes of research papers I can’t seem to toss into the recycling bin. I may never open them again, but what has stuck around is the urge to write, the urge I never truly indulged but always wondering “what if.”
Because of its persistence, I’m increasingly convinced that writing isn’t a vocation, but a lifestyle one is irresistibly drawn toward. At least for me, writing is something that I can’t avoid even when I try. Post-Its become scratchpads full of notes, notes become e-mail exchanges with friends, and whenever I can carve out the time, e-mails become articles and blog posts. Thanks to the patience of a variety of editors, I’ve had the privilege of being published in some pretty great places, but I’ve always had to treat writing as a hobby.
The utter inability for true avoidance it is the blessing and the curse of the writer. No matter how far I stray, it’s impossible for me to escape the urge to write. So part of this new adventure into self-employment is to indulge my inner writer on a more regular basis, rather than just feed him the scraps of a 9-5 life.