Writing: Your Vocation or Your Avocation?
By Ruth Barringham
A few days ago, I was reading Stephen Pressfield’s amazing book, The War Of Art, (a MUST-read for all writers IMHO) when I came across the word Avocation.
I’ve read this book many times so I’ve seen the word avocation before, but this time I decided to look it up. I knew what a vocation was but I’d never heard of an avocation.
What I found on Wikipedia was that an avocation is (as I’d expected) something that a person does as a hobby outside of their usual vocation.
The interesting thing was that it said for many people, it’s their avocation that is their true passion in life, not their vocation, and that many famous people are better known for their avocation than their professional career.
It also said that often, a vocation leads to an avocation, So, for example, a person who works in law, may also campaign, and be heavily involved in human rights as an avocation.
Some people even continue their vocation as an avocation, such as someone who works in mental health, may run free counselling groups in their spare time.
I also found a long list of people who are well-known for their avocation, not for their vocation.
Below is an example:
|Robert Baden Powell||Scouting||Military Officer|
|Nicolaus Copernicus||Astronomer||Roman Catholic Cleric|
|Sir Edmund Hilary||Mountaineer||Beekeeper|
|Barbara Kruger||Artist||Graphic Designer|
|Henry Rousseau||Painter||Tax Collector|
|Anthony Trollope||Novelist||Royal Mail Executive|
|J R R Tolkien||Novelist||Philologist (language study)|
|Joshua A Norton
(Self-declared US Emperor)
(Wind in the Willows)
|Writer||Bank of England Executive|
And sticking with fiction (writers) I also found these two on the list:
|Bruce Wayne||Crime Fighter||Philanthropist/Industrialist/Heir|
|Clark Kent||Super Hero||Newspaper Reporter|
Naturally, it also goes the other way, that many famous people are actually known for their vocation and not their private avocation.
Just out of interest, here are a few:
|Woody Allen||Jazz Musician||Film Director|
|Harrison Ford||Carpenter, Pilot||Actor|
|Jeff Goldblum||Jazz Musician||Actor|
|Mary Shelley (Frankenstein)||Political Activist||Author|
|Tracey Ullman||Knitter, Author||Actress|
|Jean-Claude Van Damme||Martial Artist||Actor|
(WI-FI, Bluetooth, GPS)
(Red Hot Chilli Peppers)
And while this is all very interesting, or at least I thought it was, you may be wondering what this has to do with writing?
Well, it’s showing that it is possible to not only be a writer while having a day job, but it’s possible to be an incredibly successful writer, even if it isn’t yet your vocation.
I began writing while I had a full-time job and over the years I put more time and commitment into my writing, untill eventually it was both my avocation and my vocation.
Be passionate about your own writing dream until you live it.