Friday, August 15, 2008

Failure Sound-Off

Everyone else did it. (See Ali, Deb, and John at right...)

Right now I'm looking for a job. Already I've done two interviews and two second interviews--so now it's a foot race for who can offer me better stuff. And that sounds good, right?

Here's the thing: None of them are the job I really want and none of them will lead me to the life I want. With either job (or both, depending on how I swing this) I don't get to stay home with my kids, I don't get to write bestsellers in my pajamas, I don't have free weekends to research exotic locales for my novels, hell--my progress on my writing in general is forcibly slowed because of these jobs.

Even though it's not a failure, and technically good for my bank account, it still feels like a failure--and an almost overwhelming failure at that. I'm beating myself up for not writing faster, getting the drafts done quicker, and putting together a synopsis and submission package--steps that would take me closer to my end goal. Now I have to do all that on top of possibly working two jobs (or one really demanding one). Menial jobs. Jobs that suck. Jobs that suck because they are not what I want. Painful months are stretching out in front of me and all I want to do is sink into the floor and cry.

While it's not failing, "doing what you have to do" is not succeeding either. Who wants to 'succeed' at middle? Fuck that.

I think a lot of it has to do with attitude. Right now, I actually don't feel like I've got a kick-ass-take-names attitude and that bugs me because that's my general status quo. At the moment I've got a my-ass-has-been-kicked attitude that's hard to pull out of.

Though I'm trying to keep something in mind.

Yesterday I read a profile on Tess Gerrittsen (sp?) and she said something to the effect of: "If I had not had a breadwinner and had to work, I don't know how I would have done it (the writing career)."

One day soon I want to be able to say, after working all this and taking care of my family: "You do it like this."

So I'm hoping the attitude comes back.

4 comments:

  1. Jenny, I hear you. I'm right now at a point where I am struggling for a reason to stay with what I'm doing now, but taking the next step would mean more commitment to the job than I really think I want to give. The scary part comes when you ask yourself the question: What if the writing thing doesn't work out?

    Remember this, a bunch of people who'd reached success in some endeavor or another were asked what they would tell their younger, unsuccessful selves. Invariably it was some form of four simple words: Everything will be alright.

    Keep at it, Jenny, take time to breathe and decompress when you need to. If something didn't get done exactly when you wanted it done, so what? It got done. Everything will be alright. Take it from a guy who used to work the graveyard shift in a gas station.

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  2. It can be done, even with kids (Okay I have one kid not two). One trick is to decide your priorities. Yours seems to be your kids and writing as is mine. I decided, finally, after too many years, that any form of customer service in a job sucked the life out of me and replaced it with STRESS as I did for so many years of writing very little. So, 1st I volunteered at the place I wanted to work (the library) then gradually moved in a behind the scenes position (it took 1 1/2 years) It doesn't afford me any much time but the little time I have I'm not pissed or stressed about work. What I'm trying to say is that, yes hang in there, yes it will work out. And it is possible to make an okay living at something other than writing but which also affords you the time and space to write. It needs time, patience and strategy. Hang in there.

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  3. You know what's going to happen with all this juggling of important priorities? You're going to become more efficient than you thought possible. You are going to accomplish scary impressive things.

    Yeah, you're not psyched about the menial jobs, but all jobs have their perks, or at least, they'll give you writing fodder. Then, when you're in a position to, leaving will be very, very satisfying. Take it from someone who just left a waitressing gig ;)

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  4. Hear, hear to what everyone has said so far. It will be all right. And sometimes when you least expect it.

    Remember that I was laid off, out of work for a year then got a truly, truly crap job in retail. That I was fired from a year later. Talk about disheartened. Then a job offer to work at a dinky software company for a subsistence wage. Lo and behold, a lot of free time at work and they liked the fact that I used it for writing.

    There have been ups and downs over the last few years and more downs than ups during the past six months, but it still worked out to be not that bad.

    You'll do great things in writing no matter what the 'day job' is for now.

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