Archives for September 2016

Some Notes on What I Read This Week: Sunday 09.18.16

On Saturday I spent nearly the entire day reading essays and articles online. In fact, at 3:00 pm, I was still sitting on my sofa drinking coffee and reading, where I’d been since 8:00 am that morning.  It was only when a friend texted me to ask how my weekend was going that I realized what time it was.

What?!?! But what better way to while away the day, I say.

I’m astounded by how much great writing is available online, for free, that you can easily access with a computer and an Internet connection.  I still much prefer to read actual books and actual newspapers, because I’m old school like that, but much of the best writing around these days doesn’t exist in those forms.

I subscribe to many, many newsletters, most of which are related to my work as a copywriter/marketer/freelance writer for hire, but my favorite newsletters are those more literary/writing/books/publishing-minded.

For example, The Lenny Letter, the weekly Longreads article round-up, and LitHub, to name three of my favorites.

It’s an embarrassment of riches, I tell you, one that I fell down the rabbit hole of for 7 hours yesterday.

Here are some of the best things I read during that reading binge:

This beautiful essay by author and co-owner of Emily Books, Emily Gould, on the financial costs of writing her first book:

How Much My Novel Cost Me 

This essay in which writer Leslie Jamison talks about her work as a “medical actor.” The word fascinating was made to describe work like this. Mesmerizing and gorgeously written.

The Empathy Exams 

From the afore-mentioned Longreads, this essay by Susannah Felts on her hometown of Nashville, and her impressions of the city’s changes during the many years she was away.

Girlhood Gone: Notes from the New Nashville 

Pretty much everything on writer Mishka Shubaly’s blog, but especially this post on his anniversary of being five years sober, where he shares honestly what it’s like to be sober after a long drinking career, saying, “Yeah, I’m sober and I have a pretty decent handle on the whole ‘not drinking’ thing, but I’m still angry and depressed and resentful and irritable and insecure and self-loathing and anti-social and neurotic and detail-obsessed and high-strung.”

Five Years Sober 

And finally, this wonderful piece I came across on Medium, by comedian and author Sara Benincasa. Very relevant for us creative types who sometimes wish we could practice our art of choice as our full-time job.

Real Artists Have Day Jobs: Your job is just your side gig. 

Happy reading!

 

 

 

On “Rejection” and Staying Loyal to Your True Goals

{FYI, the posts in this category, “A Possible Theory of Happiness,” started in August 2016, will have nothing to do with copywriting or web marketing advice. There’s lots of that kind of content in my archives and through my email list, which you can sign up for on the Free Resources page. I still offer copywriting and marketing services to creatives, which you can find out about on my Work with Me page.}

Recently as I’ve been making plans to move back to my hometown of Greensboro, NC, I’ve been thinking long and hard about getting a j-o-b once I get there.

Now that might seem a little crazy, since I’ve been happily self-employed for 5+ years now, frequently talk here on the blog about the benefits of self-employment and calling your own shots in your work life, and generally extol the virtues of not working for “the man.” And then there’s that whole pesky issue of feeling trapped like a rat in a cage when I participate in the good old-fashioned 9-5 life.

But when I think about doubling down on my writing goals, I sometimes think having a solid, reliable job, with a solid, reliable bi-weekly income, would better serve my writing goals & dreams than the self-employed lifestyle does. Something with more “regular” hours, so that I’m not working a 9-5 schedule, PLUS nights, weekends, and holidays on top of it, as I currently do.

And I think back to when I had jobs I actually loved (yes, there were a few), and how doing the 9-5 didn’t make me feel trapped or unhappy under those circumstances. How I loved having a “work family.” How I loved working together with colleagues on shared goals. And so on.

And, and this is no small thing, how comforting it can be to know how much income you’re going to earn each month, and exactly when it’s going to be coming in.  This relieves all kinds of stress that can then be spent worrying about why the writing you submit for publication continues to get rejected. (Actually? I’ve only submitted my work for publication once in my whole adult life; one of my biggest writing goals, and one of the reasons for this transition, is to get into the habit of submitting my work consistently.)

So recently I decided that I would, in fact, look for jobs in Greensboro, but that I would only consider jobs in fields I actually want to work in – things related to books, reading, publishing, magazines, newspapers, or possibly education – all things that light me up.

There would be no twisting myself into knots to create a resume or prep for an interview for a job that sounded great on paper, but that wasn’t in my wheelhouse of past experience and skills and/or in line with my passions.

So what did I do?

I created a resume and prepped for an interview – hours and hours over the course of one weekend it took me to do these things – for a job I probably had no business going out for, one that wasn’t in any way, shape or form in any of the preferred fields mentioned above.

This was a job at a recruiting company. One that got glowing reviews from a friend of a friend who works there, and L-O-V-E-S her job and her colleagues.  They are taking on new staff as they get ready to grow the company; a hometown friend had sent me the job posting. I sent a resume. I had a preliminary phone interview, then was asked to do a one-way video interview.

A few days after that, I got the obligatory euphemistic email saying that while my experience was “notable,” they’ve “elected to pursue other candidates,” AKA, “you’re not at all the kind of candidate we’re looking for, and by the way, your fears about looking terrible on video are actually true – you do look terrible on video. In fact, your very large forehead terrifies us.”

I was disappointed. I felt deflated. Sad, even. If offered the job, I would have taken it, and gone out of my way to bring 110% to the table and do a kick-butt job. Because I don’t half-ass things.

The disappointment lasted for about 10 minutes. Then I reminded myself that in my heart of hearts, I knew that job wasn’t really for me. Not really and truly. I wanted it yes. If not, I wouldn’t have sent the resume, or been so excited at the prospect of the initial interview, or prepped so much for the video interview.

Still. I fully believe the saying, “Rejection is God’s protection.”

That job wasn’t for me. And in the long run, I know it’s best I didn’t get it.

So I need to ask myself, why I would put myself up for a job that’s not in line with my true goals? Why would I go back on my promise to myself – if I’m going to seek full-time work at all – to only apply for things that I’m really right for, things that will bring me joy and make use of my skills, gifts and abilities, that will also bring value to the company I’m working for and the job I’m doing for them?

Why would I choose to be disloyal to my goals that way, and not honor what I say I want?

I don’t have the answer, really, except to say that that job, if it had worked out, would have offered the stability I’m seeking right now, and that stability would have allowed me to double down on some of my other goals in a way I don’t feel fully able to do right now.

And if that’s the only reason I wanted that job (it’s not, but let’s just say it was), then that’s the wrong reason to have pursued it.

[Important Note: Whether I end up getting a job when I get back to Greensboro or not, I’m still going to be taking on copywriting and marketing clients as I always have, I’ll just have a smaller bandwidth of availability to do so. I don’t plan to give up my copywriting business, because I love it; it may just have to be a part-time thing for the foreseeable future. So if you need copywriting or web marketing help for your creative business, don’t hesitate to reach out.]