Answer: Hope for an inheritance.
Who gets to be a journalist? I do, now, and the fact stuns me. For five years, I worked at a series of marketing companies and non-profits: jobs I wasn’t crazy about, but took because they allowed me to withstand the monthly double-penetration of Toronto rent plus student loan payments. I was trying, and largely failing, to write at night, on weekends, and on my two weeks of holidays per year. I’d bought into that old saw about struggling for one’s craft, as well as the updated version, Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hours rule, but my day jobs paid so little that, more often than not, my free hours had to go to remunerative work—more of the same. This routine produced such a cloud of emotional exhaust that a whole season could pass before I noticed that I hadn’t written a word. Before I went freelance, I was ready to give up.
LJ Digital: This is an excellent essay by Alexandra Kimball. If you’re a young journalist like me and need some perspective or just something to take your mind off of your current debt, give this a read. It’ll be worth it.
(photo courtesy of randomhouse.com)