Saturday, February 4, 2017

What Unemployment Taught Me About Writing

I, and many college graduates in 2009, didn’t expect to graduate into a world with no jobs, and yet we did.  I was, perhaps happy for awhile.  We had a savings at the time, and Ryan hadn’t yet lost his job.  I watched way too much Buffy, lived off of yogurt and farmer’s market berries with iced coffee while writing all day and I should have been happy.  
I should have used the time to write and submit and publish.  But I am in love with the art of creation, as much as any other writer.  I am incredibly hard on myself and am not inclined to think a thing is ever truly ready.  I should have decided to aproach my writing as a business then.  Vut at 25, I was just too you, too inexperienced with anything outside retail, and far too unconfident.  Even though, to many people around me I didn’t seem it.  I looked my most confident back then.  I appeared and sometimes even convinced myself that I felt the most self-assured.  
But I didn’t do the one thing I wanted with my life:  make a living off of my writing.  I spent so much time blogging and trying to understand the changing publishing world, that I did not take the leap.  I didn’t believe in myself.  Not really.  
I thought that I did.  
Unemployment taught me to feel guilty about my writing to think of it as an effort that didn’t earn me a paycheck.  A time sink that ate up all the time that I should have spent applying for jobs.  
It taught me that I chased my value--not as a writer like I thought I did--but relative to a paycheck.  What a great disservice I did myself.  
At least unemployment taught me that in order to move forward as a writer, the one great area I needed to work on was confidence.  In time, the lesson was learned and now I can make a  decision about what direction to move in.  I understand that I need to make money from my art to see myself as professional, as contributing to the amazing world of literature.  I learned that when I don’t fully engage with these things I wound myself.  I deny myself.  
I have to--had to--find confidence in my own abilities in order to give myself what I need.  A future as an author. A professional writer. So now I can work toward that goal.


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