No One Wants a Writer

The only reason I’ve been working as a photographer these past two years is that sad fact. Truth is, no one wants a writer. Most, generally speaking, fancy themselves as one. Everyone had to take English Comp in college, and in the age of the Internet, we pretty much compose our lives on social media through written word. Hell, editors and publishing agencies could inevitably become a thing of the past thanks to self-publishing. So when all you have to do is write a coherent enough blurb for this or that, why hire a writer who should be paid? Why pay an editor to check your work when spell-check can be installed practically anywhere? While the same can be said of photography, there is a visual skill involved that at least warrants someone with a measurable ability or experience. But writing… it’s often just “grab a thesaurus and use some fancy quotes.” … Or memes.

If someone were to hold a gun to my head and make me choose the kind of work I want to spend the rest of my life doing, I wouldn’t hesitate to decide on writing. But they’d be better off shooting me anyway because there’s a lot of truth to what I’m saying. No one wants a writer. It’s the art form that people hesitate to call art.

Writers don’t often get called artists. It’s a word reserved for those that can visibly demonstrate their craft. Drawing, painting, photography, acting, directing, cinematography, even music… No one ever pauses to question their merit as “Art,” but place a piece of text before someone and suddenly, the question becomes “What is it?”

I’ve been applying for writing and editing jobs ever since I moved to Austin, but I’ve never even gotten an interview for the most entry level position. I have little “professional” experience as a writer despite a hefty portfolio that comes from over half my lifetime writing, so I can’t get the work. Because no one really wants a writer, and the writers that people do want come less from unique voices and more from the right face or the visual art that accompanies it. Comic artists, vloggers, animators… those are the writers that will still be called artists. But those of us that shy behind text? No. Not as much.

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Relief?

I did it. I finally turned in my letter of resignation for the coaching job. Though I fought through days of pent-up anxiety and what seemed to be endless tears, I finally turned it in. Currently, I am actually feeling somewhat relieved- hell, optimistic, even. To be honest, though, it’s because I’ve put my phone on blocking mode and turned my work e-mail notifications off for the weekend so that I could focus on my other job and resting for the next trying week. I’ll probably be anxious all over again tonight when I check my e-mails to prepare for tomorrow while on the phone with my mom, but for now, I’m relishing in the fact that things could possibly go up from here.

Cody had a really successful interview on Friday, and he’ll be doing a follow-up interview on Wednesday. While we’re trying not to get our hopes up, it’s really hard considering how badly we could use the secondary income since I’m going to be going back to having one job. Chances seem pretty high of him snagging it, and that would mean a lot since where he’s applied also offers financial support for student employees, which would allow Cody to go back and finish his degree earlier than expected.

Both my job at the studio and the potential job across the street for Cody would provide us with steady enough hours and income to invest more time in the projects we had been so close to getting off the ground. Hell, as soon as I finish out my last day at this job, we’ll probably celebrate and I’ll tackle P4Abridged’s third episode full force. If I’m really feeling up to it, I may finally film my first vlog of 2015. I don’t know. Anything feels possible now that this massive weight’s been lifted off my shoulders. Not to mention, with Game Virgins taking off thanks to Faulerro/Chris’ endorsement, we’re making more plans for what will come next with the LP channel.

I’ll admit, I’m still really anxious over this. The fear of potential impending lash out will occasionally strike my chest, and I’ll momentarily have trouble breathing. I’m also actively working against the voice in my head beating me up for “abandoning” someone who needed my help, even though it’s not really my fault or my job to single-handedly save and take care of this business. I’ve still got a million other things on my mind that have me gripped in negativity, but for now, as I get to prepare for a somewhat relaxing day with Cody, I’m going to try and take pleasure in the fact that maybe – just maybe – there’s a chance of happiness again.

With One Thing Comes Another

And another, and another, and another, and another…

I thought once we finally got the call about what was going on, things would be difficult but not unmanageable. I knew things would be bad, even to the point of being unbearable, but these past two weeks have been more than trying. I honestly don’t know how I’m sitting up straight enough to even type right now, let alone without crying. To say I’m stressed is a bit of an understatement, and yet, I’m functioning almost normally at the moment, as if nothing has really sunk in. I’m just tired. Really, really tired.

I started a new second job last week, working as a studio photographer in the mall. It’s not too difficult, but there’s a lot to learn and I have hardly any time to rest. In fact, if my schedule manages to stay the way it is, I’ll only ever get one day off of both jobs. But just as soon as I started this job, I got notified by my friends back in WV that one of our friends was admitted to the hospital for what turned out to be a heart attack. Thankfully, her heart is better now, but she’s still hospitalized for her pancreas, so I just keep checking Facebook to see her post updates and little hospital stories, hoping she’ll be able to go home soon since I know how easy it is for her to get cabin fever when this happens.

Then the new hire at my other job fucked up royally in one of our schools and caused the program to get kicked out, so I haven’t heard the end of it from my boss there about how angry and hurt he is over the ordeal. Being the employee he vents to about everything going wrong with the program isn’t anything new, but the failure to acknowledge his own mistakes in the situation have me at my last nerve, among other things.

What’s especially grating about this entire incident is that I had finally worked myself into enough courage to resign from this job. I’ve wanted to quit for months and have written up three separate resignation letters, prepared to officially resign, and just as I have worked it out in my head to do it, something happens to where I end up feeling too bad to leave just because of how important I am in this job.

I took it on in the beginning because it was a small, part-time thing that seemed like a good way for me to get some new kind of theatrical work on my resume, and at that point in time, I had been unemployed for three months and was growing worried that I’d be stuck working retail without any end in sight. I was scared and desperate, and let me tell you, those are not reasons you should ever accept a job, especially when it’s one that you have known you would never be suited at for your whole life. I’ve always known I’d be a terrible teacher. Not because I’m terrible with kids but because I have no patience for them and find no joy in working with them. I detest it, but because I wanted a variety of experience to put on my resume and because the pay seemed like it would be reasonable at the time, I agreed to it.

Then the other girl he hired quit without a two weeks’ notice and I was left to pick up the slack as my employer scrambled to keep things together. I felt so bad for how he’d been abandoned by someone he had promised an almost managerial position to that I stepped up and filled the role myself without really being asked. As I continued working in the role of second-in-command, I realized more and more how much of a mistake signing onto a job I hated was, but leaving someone so desperate for help never sat right with me, so I grit my teeth and kept at it, thinking I could convince myself that it wasn’t a miserable experience.

I prepared a letter of resignation for the first semester, but each new employee quit within weeks of being hired so I kept holding off. Then personal life stuff made it evident that I could not possibly quit for financial reasons, so I held off. As the new year began, I decided to stay until the end of the next semester, prepared to leave when summer rolled around, thinking there would be no program to run during the summer months. When I discovered that was not the case and that we’d still not gotten new hires, I gave up on the idea of quitting and fell into a brief period of depression, collapsing ever deeper when more personal life things made it evident that I would have to keep working. When we finally managed to hire new people, I applied more frequently to any and every job I could and finally managed to find this studio that hired me on the spot. I started to feel like I could quit after the summer finished out, and I began feeling a small sense of relief at the prospect of turning in my resignation and dedicating energy just to one job.

Then this incident with losing our most financially viable school happened, and our only other new hire is already showing signs of not appreciating the amount of time invested into a part-time job with full-time responsibilities… And today of all days, when we’re completing our last day at this school we’ve spurned, the studio manager that hired me in the mall and was training me was fucking fired. HR came in, hovering around and observing my training for about an hour and a half before pulling her in the back and booting her, after having spoken with me and saying that I ought to work towards making my way up in the company to a managerial position. Then the former manager texts me later in the day to say she’s sorry I had to be there for that, and when I asked her if she was okay, she says that it’s a shitty company to work for and it was a long time overdue.

After ALL of this, I am still managing to remain more or less unaffected. Inside, I’m angry and stressed and desperately want to cry and scream, but on the outside, I’m just… tired. I am fucking exhausted, but I have no desire to sleep. So I’m sitting here, deadpanned, just typing whatever fucking shit comes to mind and wondering how on earth I am going to get through this next week…

Frustrated

I am so fucking frustrated right now. Most of this is my own fault. I should have been keeping an eye on the calendar and been on top of things for work. I shouldn’t have taken on so much responsibility with work with how things have been so up in the air lately. But my boss should also have hired someone earlier. And he should have gotten back to me about more of these things sooner.

Just yesterday, I told Cody that if I had a week off, I felt confident that I’d be able to motivate myself into completing the editing for P4Abridged, and I do think that’d be the case. We’ve discussed lately all our prospective projects, and I’m feeling more and more motivated to work on the things I love.

Most of my motivation comes from Cody, really. In the hardest times, if I see him get excited about doing something, even when I’m feeling down, it always makes me excited to do something that he’s able to enjoy. I love seeing him happy and excited, and talking with him about all the things we want to do and seeing how happy it made him to talk about them, the more I felt myself want to work on the things I was too anxious to do before.

But as soon as that motivation picks up, I hit a fucking wall because of my job. Balancing my pet projects with work is insane. Sometimes I think if I had regular, steady hours, I’d be able to manage my time better, but I know that’s not the case. I’d only end up exhausting myself by adhering to a strict regimen. Though I aspire to be organized and structured, rigidity boxes my creative self in and prevents me from relaxing… which means I become too tense and wear out quickly.

At the same time, constantly driving to a number of schools and working with tons of different children also wears me down. That coupled with how much I actually hate kids makes this job very, very difficult. I can’t really win for losing.

I’m trying really hard to keep my head up and not lose myself to the stress, but the ball of aggravation swelling in my chest is so upsetting. I just want an outlet, but my options for one are incredibly limited…

Is it Worth it?

What do you do? Take a risk and dedicate every waking moment to working on what you want at home, possibly ending up homeless, or put off your dreams for security? Do I jump off the deep end, quit my job, and work my ass off on the things I care about, setting up a Patreon for videos and hoping to god people care enough to donate to the content I create? Do I risk everything about my independence and stability for my own happiness?

Would I even be able to do it? I’m always saying “If I have time…” that I’d do all these things, but would I really be able to handle having the time? Or would I cave under the pressure of having so many things to do and not be able to finish anything?

I know when I lost my job last year, I managed to sit down and finish Episode 2 of P4Abridged and a vlog. Even though it took a while and it wasn’t the expanse of projects I had planned, I still did it. I let that time and the lack of a job that drained the life out of me motivate me to work. So I wonder if…with the proper therapy and medication again…if I could do it… Would I be able to edit, and record, and act, and write, and produce the way I want to if I just got the time? Or would I panic at the huge risk of not having a steady job and crumble into that depressive stagnation again?

It’s so hard to explain how depression and anxiety get in the way of me keeping a job, let alone keeping me from doing the things I love. When it comes to jobs, the wear and tear it does on me socially, physically, and mentally can sometimes feel like getting thrown under a bus. I don’t think that’s how it is with most people. Most of the time, I hear people just talk about the exhaustion or the frustration. For me, it’s like being physically injured. My heart rate, my breathing, my muscles and bones… Everything in my body aches, and it feels like I’m leaking blood out of every possible orifice.

Will I feel like that if I’m doing the things that I want? Will I come out of 5 hours spent, say, recording a narration, feeling like I’ve just been pelted with rocks? Will I finish 8 hours of editing work only to feel like I’ve been flayed? Will I spend a whole day holding auditions for a film at the cost of feeling like I’ve been dragged along the desert by a fraying rope behind a tanker truck?

Is that a risk worth taking? What if I don’t succeed and end up in horrible debt or lose my home? Where do I go after that? Do I go crawling back into the life I was already miserable with? Would I be happier to at least be out of this environment that I feel so much pressure under? Is happiness really worth it? Life isn’t perfect. There are always going to be hard times and low points, so is it really worth it to fight for something better? If I’m constantly going to find myself back in a sinkhole or pit, is it worth it to climb back out? Are the good things really worth the tug of war? Sure, I want to be happy, and I’m realistic that it’s not something that will ever last forever… but I just can’t convince myself that the human instinct to fight for happiness is worth the… well, fight…

Sacrifice

I had an interview today. Specifically, it was the second round of a three-part interview process for a company that I only applied to because I’m getting desperate to find stable income. I got a call back earlier about possibly getting through to the final part of the process, but I can’t say I’m really thrilled about it… Especially after the person interviewing me said something that ended up getting under my skin.

I’d read on GlassDoor last night about one employee who claimed that this company tends to look down on people taking time to have their own life, like going to church or attending a family outing. Among all the other disheartening comments, that really got to me. And the interview today basically confirmed that mentality, as I was told that you’re expected to “give up a date night or personal time for the potential opportunities that come from this job.”

I’m not someone who expects things to magically work out or that success happens overnight. Far from it. I’m a diligent worker who never stops striving to improve. Even though there are times my productivity is lacking or that I’m not working on a project, there is always something I’m working on. If I’m not editing, I’m scripting. If I’m not scripting, I’m researching. If I’m not researching, I’m planning. I know that in order to improve and succeed, you have to put in the effort to get there. You can’t fall into something if you’re not moving.

But the idea of blatantly sacrificing something like time to yourself or to your loved ones for a job that is only going to be rewarding in a couple years down the line? I can’t do that anymore.

Sacrifice is not something I am unacquainted with. I am used to giving up important things for a potential future outcome, and you know where that got me? In a therapist’s office openly admitting that I wanted to die. Three times. I gave up my fucking childhood and the things I loved as a kid to dedicate time and effort into school and honors programs that I didn’t really care about because I thought that the promise of a future career was guaranteed lifelong happiness. The world around me built that perception, and I attached myself to it in my perpetual unhappiness because that just seemed to be the best way to change things at the time.

I loved playing video games. I loved reading for enjoyment. I loved watching movies and anime. I loved playing piano and improvising music. I loved acting. I loved writing. And yet I sacrificed the things I loved time and time again for studying, for education, for working… I even sacrificed friendships for the “opportunities” I was promised.

And now I’m being expected to do it all again just so I can afford my own independence. I can’t take it. I’m still giving up things I love for the potential future outcome. I’m doing less of what I love and more of what I hate just so I can possibly afford time to do what I love in a few months or a year or years down the line… But that time will never come. I will never be able to afford the time that I have now again because once the moment has passed, it will never come back. And yet I keep giving up these things important to me for the mere ability to live. Is it worth it? Is any of it worth it? Or am I just being a lazy, whiny little bitch? I don’t know anymore. I don’t think I ever knew to begin with.

It Starts With Money and Ends with Disappointment

One of my resolutions for 2015 is to really work hard at understanding my finances so that maybe I can actually start making money instead of simply spending it to live. This…is very difficult, especially when the second job I picked up doesn’t and will never pay above minimum wage, which is still only $7.25 here in Austin. On the one hand, it’s a temporary position that I won’t be coming back to after March 9th. On the other hand, this will leave me with only the coaching job, which I wanted to quit last year but due to unforeseen circumstances can’t leave and probably won’t be able to drop until summer…

I turned down an offer with the coaching job that would pay me significantly more than what I’m earning now because A, I don’t want to commit to a job that I don’t love, and B, I don’t foresee financial success with this program within the year and therefore don’t trust that I would be in good hands as an employee to this company. Yes, my employer has always paid me and taken care of me, but I don’t want to be paid for work that doesn’t turn a profit for my place of employment… Especially when it’s not a place I see myself staying with for another year.

This all means I have to find another job, and while I’m constantly applying, the lack of self-confidence and energy gets in the way a lot.

I have a lot of ideas in the way of freelancing… I could always try and sell headshots for actors again, though I’m not as skilled as some other professionals/actual photography students here in Austin. What I’d really like to do is sell my ability as a writer/director/audio mixer and help voice actors put together demo reels, but voice actors are often just as poor as I am, so I don’t know how well that would go…

Beyond that, I just…want to work on my own things. I want to work on P4Abridged, which goes without saying. I want to finish reading Dracula and work on the Harker Diaries with Dea. It’s an urge that keeps eating at my brain, especially after being disappointed in Frankenstein, MD. I want to pick up Impossible Expectations and just see if I can’t successfully fund it with a Kickstarter so I can hire a cast and crew and just do it. I want to write more short films and take film classes and get a workforce certification. I want to audition and act so badly… I want to toy with the idea of The Female Odd Couple web series that Cody said he’d be interested in doing with me. I just want to do film and media, and it requires me to have money and time that I just don’t have…

I always ask if it’s too selfish for me to have dreams and aspirations because it feels like it is. My parents gave up the things they wanted to do to have jobs they hate so they could raise their family, so isn’t it selfish of me to not have kids and give up all the things I love for a financially stable life? Am I not obligated to follow their example in order to repay them for the sacrifice they made for me to live? Isn’t that the child’s job?

Why is it so hard for me to just live my own life without worrying about whether or not I’m a good kid?