I’m breaking up with you. Again.
When we first started dating, I was fresh out of college. My friend Tish explained my prospects to me this way: “Playwriting’s the bad boy. He’s dark and edgy. Rides a motorcycle. Dashing and dramatic, so terribly exciting. Journalism is the guy you can bring home to meet your parents. He’s dependable. He remembers when it’s your birthday, and and brings you flowers. He’s respectable.”
Well, not any more. Now Journalism is like the on-and-mostly-off-again boyfriend you can’t quite kick off your couch, who comes over to eat the leftovers in your fridge, and watches TV for hours (because he doesn’t have one any more). He’s cute and scrappy, but unreliable. He shows up very late, if at all. And when he does manage to walk through the door, he expects you to ooh and aahh over him in excitement. And maybe give him a foot massage for walking all the way over here. Too bad he spends most of his free time chatting up women he’s never met, who promise to fulfill his every whim for $5 an article. The last time he showed up, you caught him texting strangers in other countries, and negotiating for content in bulk.
In the past two years, I’ve been flirting and dating, and looking at my options. Copywriting has been a promising and strong contender. I could actually start a life with him. He’s cool and creative, so connected, and he can pay more than his fair share of the bills. Digital Content is really writing for the internet. He’s a humbler and quieter fellow, who likes to work behind the scenes. He’s content to be Contently. He can have a byline, or not. And he likes talking in different, funny voices, pretending to be other people.
Nobody says they’re writers any more. That’s like calling your date “a gentleman caller.”
I had such high hopes for you, Journalism. When we first met, you were full of intelligence and integrity, truth and mirth. Nobody could make me laugh harder, or tear up more. You had standards, along with copy editors and researchers. You hardly ever had to apologize, or print a retraction. Even now, you can make me swoon so that I feel tempted to take you up on that booty call. But “giving” me a byline and getting more exposure for my personal brand–these are not substitutes for a real relationship, or paycheck. Get your act together. Show up. Play fair. Don’t tell me to go take a walk, and then get upset when I date other people.
And maybe, just maybe, we might have a future together one day. A real one.
Yours, as ever,