Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Do I...or Don't I?

A writer friend of mine asked the question..."Do I tell the people I work with that I write romance?"

And my answer to her...and to others is....

"It depends."

Here's Why:

For me, personally, I don't tell the folks I work with I write.

Something many don't realize is in my 'day job' I'm a teacher. I like to think I help shape young minds and make a difference in a world that so needs change and to be a better place. Teaching, like many other professions, is a calling. There are many people who teach. There are less who are truly called.

I'm called. And let me tell you, it ain't easy. I don't teach for the money. What other profession in the whole entire world requires you to have a college degree, be certified and maintain that certification (also called 'licensed), and yet make the salary teachers do? And let me tell you, the young ages you teach, the worst the salary and benefits become (there is no tenure for teachers in the Early Childhood field, which includes ages birth through kindergarten)

I don't teach for the 'recognition'. Teachers are one of the most overlooked professions. (Yes, I'm biased). For the time, attention, heart, soul, blood, tears, sweat, and most teachers pour into their job, the money doesn't equal.

BUT...teaching brings its own rewards. The light bulb moment when a student 'gets it' and understands the concept you have spent countless hours trying to impart. The way a teacher's students teach the teacher so much more than the teacher ever teaches them. The light and joy is simply learning, every day, something new, or seeing something familiar and old in a whole new way.

All that said...I also have a 'morals clause' in my contract. This clause states, "Immoral or improper behavior will be grounds for termination".

Have you read ever anything (non government and IRS) that is so vague and ambiguous and yet covers so much?

What that clause means is my superiors have the right to judge what is 'immoral'. And that could be anything from me deciding to take a second job as a stripper (I do NOT have a job as a stripper...people who know me would laugh hysterically at the very thought)... to me deciding to pose for Playboy (I have NOT posed for Playboy...and see the sentence above)... to posts on Face Book and other social media (yes, a coworker was fired for 'immoral and improper' social media posts)... to the fact I write romance.

And let me clarify... I write ROMANCE. I do NOT write 'bodice rippers', 'mommy porn' or 'smut'.

To be honest, I resent those terms and feel they are as antiquated as saying a woman who is harassed should 'be silent and live with it'.  It's an insult to me as the writer and an insult to the readers who love Romance. But that's a whole 'nother soap box.

So, for me...I don't share with coworkers I write Romance. I certainly don't share with students or their parents.To keep my job and not risk the 'morals clause' firing, sure. And to be really, really honest, I know I can't keep my cool all the time if any of them snigger and talk about "those" books and other remarks.

But mostly because...  What I do outside of the school building, the classroom, the work space, the conference room, the office, is MINE. It's *my time*. It's my private life, my own business.

But if I were asked, I would never deny what I'm called to do.

Writing is a calling. And let me tell you, it ain't easy. I don't write for the money. What other profession in the whole entire world requires you to pour your heart and soul into creating a world and characters who live and breathe and yet pays a writer the salary most of us receive?

I don't write for the 'recognition'. Writers are one of the most overlooked professions in the whole world. (Yes, I'm biased). For the time, attention, heart, soul, blood, tears, sweat, and most writers  pour into their job, the money doesn't equal (we can't all be Stephen King and Nora Roberts, two of my fav writers who earn every dime they make and more).

BUT...writing brings its own rewards.

(Having deja vous yet?)

That moment when I cry because my heroine is being an it but thinks she's being right in walking away from the hero. She's in a tree, on a limb about to break, and I'm sawing it off behind her. Or that magical moment when the hero utters, "I love you" and she says "I love you" and violins plays, and rainbows appear and all is right and FAB in the world.

And in short...I write because I can't NOT write. Just as I teacher because I can't NOT teacher.

So...decide for *you*. Do you have a 'morals' clause? Check that first and foremost. In your contract, in your Employee Policies and Manual, ask your Boss. How 'flexible' is that clause?

How much do you WANT your coworkers to know? Your students, parents, clients, customers? Are you comfortable with them knowing, reading your books, and commenting? Are you able to bear their comments, good and bad, about your writing?

And then....get back to what you're called to do :)

So.... Should You Tell Your Coworkers and People in Your Professional Life You Write? Leave a comment!

1 comment:

  1. Not everyone understands. So I think it's wise to be aware of your audience before sharing your talent and passion for writing romance with them. I'm always hesitant to tell people I'm an author because I know they'll get judgmental as soon as I tell them what genre I write. *sigh* It's an uphill battle, but you're doing great. We all are. Keep it up. <3


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