Monday, October 15, 2007

Getting off my fraking butt

My working hours are insane. Physical therapy exercises take up lunch. By the time I get home, I can barely cook a meal, clean the apartment (goddamn, how is it that there's always more dirt??) and play with the cat before I succumb to an hour on the couch staring at the wall, then crawl into bed.

However, after my team's manager decided to trash not one but all of the public information documents I'd spent eight days writing, I've had it.

The reason I've never pursued writing is simple -- I'm terrified of failure. Imagine finding out that you can't do the one thing you love, either because you're bloody incompetent or you're just incapable of turning a dream into reality. I don't know what I'd do if I tried to write and discovered it wasn't going to happen...but not-writing guarantees the outcome, doesn't it?

This isn't the best time to begin. I really do work at least five to 10 hours more per week than I'm supposed to (thank you, American work ethic) -- which may not sound like much, but it drains me just enough to dull my appetite for voluntary evening labor. Nonetheless, I'm doing three things, starting yesterday:

1. Editing my novel page-by-page so I can reach where I left off with a renewed understanding of my characters and a reinvigorated desire to finish it
2. Thinking long and hard about where to go from here, be it journalism school or unpaid internships. The prospects seem daunting now, what with CB's looming postdoc, our desire to buy a home sometime before we turn 80, and the fact that I know nothing about freelancing...but I have one year to educate myself as much as I can so I'm positioned to get started when CB returns. Given my daily schedule, one year will be cutting it close.
3. Pitch when I can, where I can. I may not have time to build a flourishing freelance career now, but I can lay the groundwork. I started tonight by contacting a struggling local monthly looking for an editor -- I figure if they need an editor, they might need a writer or two, as well. The worst that happens is they ignore me, right? If they say no, I'll just try harder.

I don't know how I'm going to do it, but I need to give writing my all before I throw in the towel and settle for a soul-sucking career in public outreach. I'd like nothing more than to find a part-time job in the next three years that lets me spend the other 20+ hours per week pitching, writing, editing, whatever. How do I get there? Not sure. I'm sure I won't be nearly so motivated by the end of this week, as I'm scheduled to work 50+ hours between tomorrow and Saturday (no, I'm really not exaggerating). Still, if I can't push through to the other side, I'll look back years from now and wonder what might have been. This isn't going to happen overnight, but it has to start sometime. It might as well be now, even if all I can do is take the seed out of its envelope and look for a suitable planting site.

1 comment:

joanium said...

I'm so sorry that your manager nixed your work. That would make me furious and very glum.

Good luck with the next year, especially with your novel.