The Light at the Writing DeskA teacher friend of mine just retired, which got me to thinking about how the very best teachers are always teaching, always ready to explain, help, and lift up. My friend, though now retired, is that kind of teacher.

And it got me to thinking that writing, like teaching, is a way of life kind of job, one of those jobs that says a lot about who you are because it’s a part of you and the way you approach the world.

I imagined, for a moment, about writer retirement, though I don’t think there is such a thing. Sure, you can leave a writing job, and some simply “stop” writing. But I don’t think you retire from the craft. The light at the writing desk is always on.

A life in writing is a lot like being a student, who, at times struggles with the material, yet always strives for the A. When you truly want a good grade, you put in the time, studying and doing your homework, to the point that even when the homework is done, you think about the class, think about the material, and review it all in your head. And even as you eat dinner or go to the movies, your mind is working through the puzzles. In the back of all your thoughts there it is, unable to be let go. For that kind of all-encompassing work, your heart has to be in it.

No one wants to be defined by what they do unless they love it. And most jobs manage to trickle their way into your non-working life, one way or another. Life is too short to work a job you hate. Work, without passion, is just a place to collect paychecks.

So strive for the love. Strive for your way of life that doesn’t turn off when you exit the classroom or punch out for the day, or even when you retire. The light in your mind is always on.

Jody Brown is the author of Upside Down Kingdom, and is a multi-blogger, poet, and traveler. To learn more about her current writing projects, or for ways to donate toward their completion, see