A grungy woman claims that “you do your work (being art) not because you want success or to be read. It doesn’t matter if only 50 people read it. You do it because its your caaaaaaaaalling!”
That is hippie bullshit.
Callings fall into the category of vaguely spiritualistic perfect defenses. When someone claims that X and Y is their calling, there is no refuting. No dialogue or inspection that can be had. A calling is self-encapsulated truth with no justification, and that’s not how human beings work.
I want to write for many reasons. I enjoy the expression of the words as they flow from my fingers. I like the rhythm that grows when the prose works. I enjoy the intellectual challenge of juggling dozens of moving pieces in a narrative. I hope that my stories will be a surrogate measure of conversation with complete strangers. I want to get rich and famous and retire at 35. All of these reasons come together into a gestalt whole to motivate me.
But I don’t have a “calling” as a writer any more than I have a “calling” to breathe. They’re just both in line with what I enjoy: living.
Furthermore, a calling is dangerous. Its armor against criticism and a shield against the need to improve. You can be “called” to write for 30 years without taking pen to paper. No actual need to engage with the art’s past, its methods, its great people, its hecklers and assholes.
Art is largely a pain in the ass. Lots of hard work, typically alone in your room. Nobody really wants to read, listen, or admire the junior works of a Picasso to be, online or off. Its two or five or ten years of screwing around with the tools for no reward except the occasional opportunity to loftily brag or impress teenage girls.
And I sure as hell am not practicing every day so that I can fulfill a “calling”. I want to get paid for my work in recognition, comraderie, and money. Keep your calling.