Thursday, November 15, 2012

What to do?

This month commemorates my one year anniversary as a freelance writer.  And while my job is interesting and fulfilling in that I get paid to do what is arguably my only marketable skill, I have no idea why people do this.  Aside from the fact that writing is tedious work, you have to think about taxes all the time, you have to pay for your own health insurance, you're constantly having to  tell people that they're not paying you enough to do this or that, and you could always, ALWAYS be fired tomorrow.

Or at least that's my perception.  (I have a possibly irrational fear of being fired ever since that one time I was fired.)

I'm pretty lucky because my main client is a good friend of mine, and I know Hank will do his best to keep me in science writing for as long as I care to do it, or at least warn me when there is no longer science writing on the horizon, so I can start applying for restaurant jobs.

But about a month ago, I was on the phone with my editor--not Hank, this is another guy named Blake--and toward the end of a call outlining a Restoration Ecology script, Blake was like, "Welp, I guess this is the last time I'm gonna talk to you for a couple months." And I was like "Whatcha talkinabout?" And Blake was like, "Oh! Forgot to tell you! Our season's over so we don't need any more scripts until January!"

So then I slammed my phone down on the desk three or four times and broke the glass on the screen*, and then I took Drew's office chair and broke out the window in our studio*, and then I called Audrey and blubbered incoherently**.  And then I went catatonic for about an hour** until David made me go for a walk on the railroad tracks because he said he couldn't study--even with headphones on--through all my moaning**.

I'll admit: them was dark times.  But things have been kind of looking up since then, because even though I'm not working right now, I'm not working right now.  I'm poor, but I'm free.

Yeah.  So after a year of working 70 hours a week, I'm down to 20.  I haven't written anything in like 2 weeks. I've even gotten kinda rusty.  This blog post is actually the most intelligent and inspired thing I could possibly have written today, and let's be honest: it really hasn't been very good so far.

And so here's the thing: I don't know what to do with myself.  Yesterday I called Audrey and repeated the words "WHAT AM I DOING WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME????" like 400 times in a row. And then we talked about the destructive power of the ego and Saturn moving into Scorpio, which is just how we roll.  But I think it all comes down to this: after 10 months working like a crazy maniac, all of a sudden everything's quiet.  (Quiet-ish--I still have a three year old).  And now I can't exactly remember what I used to do with myself when I wasn't working.

I mean, how do I relax? What are my hobbies?

Can anybody remember?


*False but practically true
** True enough.


  1. Not working...being fired, laid off, making an F, can be uplifting. Negative experiences are tests of who your friends are, and who you are. Who wants to work for somebody all the time?

  2. Writing is the toughest job. I struggle to get my minimum word count in every day and now, I'm freaking out because I'm actually applying to MFA programs in writing and I keep asking myself, what the f#$k am I doing?, every single day. I actually do so much to avoid writing - pay bills, etc. etc. until I can no longer procrastinate and I have to sit my ass down and do it.

    The best I can do is offer you encouragement: You are doing great! I'm so impressed. I love reading your writing. Keep on doing the thing you love best, even if you are poor.

    Do you like to knit?

    I hope this helps.

    Your fan in Oregon,