Quitting Writing

My husband thinks I should quit writing for a while.

He said he thinks it makes me unhappy. He told me tonight while I was in the middle of a mini nervous breakdown that had me crying on the floor of our bedroom for a couple of hours.

I love writing. The only time writing doesn’t make me happy is when the crippling self-doubt kicks in, when everything I write sucks and I’m not getting better fast enough. I know it takes time to get good, but I don’t have time when everyone else is already good and I need to make money to pay bills.

I hate my job. I can’t get a better job because my stupid Japanese still isn’t good enough despite years of studying. And while I’m barely pulling in any money, my husband is basically supporting us both, and I feel guilty. He’s smart and very capable and works so hard, and he deserves someone stronger and more mentally stable than me, someone who can share financial burdens equally.

Since we got married, he’s used every bi-annual bonus to help pay off my student loans, and the guilt kills me.

If writing makes me unhappy, it’s only because it feels selfish.

He thinks I should quit writing and take Japanese lessons so I don’t waste my time here. But I already created a deadline for the story I’m working on. I’ve already made a goal to write every day of the year. And enrolling in Japanese classes would mean I’d have to work longer hours to pay for it.

But taking classes might be the push I need to reach a level of Japanese that will let me get a job I like, one where I can earn more. And then maybe the guilt will go away. I just hope I don’t forget about writing along the way.

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6 Comments

Filed under Japan, Personal, Writing

6 responses to “Quitting Writing

  1. I don’t think your overall unhappiness has much at all to do with writing. Writing is always going to be an emotionally tumultuous career, but what really seems to be bothering you is your lack of independence/contribution to the household. Every time I’ve been unemployed I’ve gone through the same thing – feeling miserable and unworthy and guilty.

    Your current job is worse than being unfulfilling; it emotionally drains you. It also doesn’t sound like it pays enough. I think you have this job because you feel you need to contribute somehow, but ultimately I think quitting it would make you much happier. I don’t know if that’s an option for you, but if I were you I would seriously consider it.

    Is there any way you could use your writing skill for work there? Contributing to an English-language website for the local government or a marketing company perhaps? I don’t really know the market, but I think doing something you are good at would make you feel a lot better…and the more you write, even if it’s not the exact kind of writing you want to do forever, the better you’ll get at writing overall.

    I don’t think forcing yourself to work more at a job you hate and also trying to force yourself to study Japanese will lead to a good result. You may not actually hate living in Japan or hate learning Japanese; it might just be that a change of situation would make you more interested in both. Regardless, those are the sorts of feelings you’re having right now, and I can’t say I’ve ever managed to force myself to do something long term with those kind of negative emotions attached.

    I think you should focus on finding a better work situation, something that doesn’t emotionally exhaust you, before you worry about Japanese study. It’s hard enough to learn a language without hating every moment of doing so.

    If you can’t find something in your city, maybe you could find work online. I don’t know :/

    Writing is something you really want to do, and you should absolutely not give that up. Your husband doesn’t hate the fact that you write, he hates the fact that you’re unhappy. His suggestion wasn’t meant as a condemnation of your life choices, but as a possible way to make you feel better. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter how you get to happiness as long as you get there.

  2. ALL THE HUGS. You have no need to feel selfish or guilty. You have found an amazing person who loves you and wants to make you happy. If the tables were turned, you’d want to support him without him worrying too much, right?

    Have you tried free online language sites? Lang-8.com, memrise.com and so on are all free and are excellent ways to improve your Japanese. What kind of level are you at? Could you benefit from a skype speaking partner? If there’s something I can do to help, like explain grammar and stuff to you, then just say the word.

    • Aww, thank you so much! You made a good point — I wouldn’t want him to worry if the tables were turned.

      For Japanese, unfortunately I think I need the competitiveness of a classroom setting. I finally realized self-study isn’t enough for me — I need frequent testing and peers to measure myself against. So I’ll be enrolling in a Japanese school soon.

      Thanks again. 🙂

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