Mood right now. I just CANNOT. Being a writer, or an artist in general, is the most wonderful and horrific experience. When it’s going well, it’s amazing. When it’s not, it’s Hell on Earth.
There’s two different kinds of writerly Hell. Craft Hell is when you’re having trouble with your work. Either you’re creatively blocked, you don’t like the story anymore, it’s too similar to an already published book, etc. Then there’s Career Hell, when you’re not doing so hot in the “making money from my art” department.
I’m currently in Career Hell, which is honestly a better place than Craft Hell. When you’re in Craft Hell, you’re usually in Career Hell at the same time.
My situation right now is fairly bad. A person living worse than me would be in physical danger or living on the streets right now. I had a training session scheduled at my new job in my terrible neighborhood and waited over an HOUR and the manager never showed.
It’s cheaper for me to work within walking distance because I don’t have a car and train rides downtown are 12 bucks a day. But every business within walking distance is subpar and unprofessional af. I have another interview today within walking distance but they have called to cancel and reschedule my interview FOUR times in the past month. FOUR!
Normally, this would be enough to let the average job hunter realize this business is unprofessional and it’s time to decline and move tf on. But that’s how desperate I am. I already understand a job that thinks it’s acceptable to reschedule interviews that many times is going to be an unpleasant place to work (if we ever get to that point), but that’s how bad I need a job.
So what to do when you’re feeling dejected and low af? SOCIAL MEDIA! I spent part of this morning looking at author’s lives and reading publishing success stories. Which only made me feel worse because even the people who thought they were doing badly before they got published were living better than I am right now.
Then, the self-doubt began. Why am I writing when I can’t find a job? Why didn’t I do pre-med instead of English lit in college? Why did I bother with the MFA? What if I send my novel out and nobody wants to represent me again? What if I get representation but not a book deal? What if I am not meant to become the author I want to be?
For me, being a writer is like being in love with an inanimate object. you want to receive that love back but you get frustrated because for the most part, you’re putting everything you have into the relationship and the writing isn’t giving you much back. Not as much as you need anyway.
That’s why I’ve decided to compose a list of tips on how to not give up. Even though I feel like giving up myself right now.
1. Stay off Social Media
We are obviously on social media right now but as a rule, I find it’s best to not spend as much time on it as the rest of the world is. A few months ago, I deactivated my facebook account. Best decision ever.
Not only was I able to dedicate more time to writing, I wasn’t constantly wading through of sea of other people’s best moments. There’s nothing worse than watching everyone do these amazing things when you’re not seeing the hard parts of their lives they choose to keep private.
For me, this is especially hard because I don’t socialize very much. Without social media, I don’t have a lot of contact with the outside world. But I try to use social media in better ways. I use instagram on my books account which is mainly composed of pretty book pictures and where I get a lot of good recommendations.
2. Tune out the Negative
If you’re not currently publishing books or you’re getting stories rejected or MFA apps rejected, how are you supposed to know you’re a good writer or that this is the career path for you? You gotta be a little egotistical if you’re going to be a good writer because sometimes there is nothing and no one to build your self confidence but you.
Even when I’m complaining about having wasted time studying writing, I never doubt my talent as a writer or my choice to do it. It’s not really a choice, it’s what I love, it’s my life.
I can be honest with myself. I know when a scene in my novel just isn’t working or when I’m being lazy with the descriptions or when I’m trying too hard to write like everyone else.
Because I can b honest with myself, I can say that I know I’m going to achieve these goals. Now, it’s true I could gt hit by a bus tomorrow because we never really know the future but you have to visualize it and believe it or it will never happen.
3. Take a Break
Sometimes we stress ourselves out with so much pressure to succeed that we prevent ourselves from being any good. It’s easy to forget why you love writing and it becomes a job that you’re no longer doing for yourself. Once you’ve sucked the fun out of writing, the writing will suck.
I struggle with this all the time but it’s important to try to keep your writing and career Hell separated. If you find yourself second guessing every sentence you write, put it away for the day and do something else.
I could only come up with three tips unfortunately although I hope to discover more as I navigate my way through this swamp of doubt. At the very least, this will all be an interesting story to tell in the future.